10 Easy Tips for Creating a Vision Board That Actually Works!

manifestation, Spirituality

Hello! And welcome back, friend! If you’re new here, I’m Heather Ione, a Manifestation Guide who helps women create their dream life through manifestation techniques and self-growth: addressing self-sabotage, getting rid of limiting beliefs, healing past trauma – all of that!

I’ve had my own incredible experience with the Law of Attraction and used it to manifest money, a move, vacations, my partner, my dream car, and so much more! If you want to learn about my manifestation story, check it out in my blog post, “How I Transformed My Life with the Law of Attraction.” Now, I’ve made it my mission to help other women create that transformation too! 

Today, I want to talk about one of the most popular manifestation topics: VISION BOARDS! I would say that by far, the vision board is the most talked about and utilized manifestation tool. I know countless women who create vision boards. But sadly, in my conversations, I always come across women who LOVE vision boarding and attend all of the “vision board events,” but don’t see any results from it.

I regularly teach that manifestation, vision boarding, and visualizing DO work, BUT you have to know how to do it to make it potent and powerful. Otherwise, you’re left with a pretty collage but nothing in your life that came from it.

So to help you FINALLY manifest some real results with your vision board this year, I’m sharing 10 Easy Tips for Creating a Vision Board That Actually Works! Read these tips below, let them soak in, and use them the next time you go to create your vision board. If you do, I swear you will be flooded by the results!

1. Create a board that works for YOU

If there’s one thing that I really want to hit on, it’s that your own vision board can be whatever you want it to be! There are countless influencers and content creators that share their own vision board process and portray it as the “correct” way to vision board. Maybe you’ve even heard before that, “Vision boards have to be physical for them to work.” I’ve been told that!

But here’s the thing: There is no “right” way to vision board. Your vision board can be whatever it is you want it to be. Just because Sally says that a vision board has to be physical, or has to be hung up on the fridge, or has to be digital, or has to be on Pinterest, does not mean that you have to do it too!

Some people THRIVE when their vision board is made as a digital collage and they save it as their wallpaper on their phone. Some people swear it only works if they put it in their bedroom or on the refrigerator door. Some people adore using Pinterest to make a vision board. And some people choose to get even more creative and make a “Mind Movie” (A manifestation tool suggested by author Dr. Joe Dispenza). A Mind Movie is a little slideshow or movie that people make with the images and pictures that represent their dream life which they add music too. 

I want you to know right now that in order for your vision board to be “successful” it doesn’t matter what platform you create it in and whether it’s physical or digital. What matters is that the method you choose works for your lifestyle. When I was able to manifest all of those crazy things in my life, I was exclusively using private Pinterest boards. But now, at this point in my life, a physical vision board makes sense for me. 

2. Stop being critical 

The second thing that you should know is to not be critical of yourself. A vision board is NOT an art contest. And it’s not an art class either where all of your peers are going to see it. It’s supposed to represent the things in your life that you want. I would say that it should be somewhat aesthetically pleasing to your eye, but it does not have to be a work of art! That’s not the purpose of it. Remind yourself ahead of time to leave the perfectionism behind and mentally prepare yourself that this is going to be a vision board, not art. The more you remind yourself of that ahead of time, the easier it will be!

3. Reflect on your dream lifestyle

The third thing that you should do before you get to creating it is to sit down with a notebook and reflect on what your dream lifestyle would be. I say lifestyle because your vision board should represent what your dream LIFE would look like, not just the material possessions.

If you have a vision board with only cars, diamonds, and money on it, it probably won’t work. My very first vision boards used to be like that and it got me nowhere. Here’s why: You have to have an emotional connection to your vision board and see how those items would be ingrained in your life. If you’re including pictures that represent your dream relationship that’s going to connect with you more than a picture of a diamond ring. See what I mean? Including photos that represent your dream CAREER will connect with you in a way that a number on a bank balance won’t.

So before you get crafty, sit down and think about your dream lifestyle: your career, health, relationships, social life, hobbies, spirituality, mindset, and accomplishments. If you create the vision board around your dream lifestyle rather than what item you want, it’s going to work better. Take some time to really figure out what your perfect life would look like before you choose the images. 

4. Pick images that light you up

Once you’re ready to begin, start looking for photos. These photos should be ones that create a spark and excitement in you. If they don’t symbolize your dream perfectly and make you feel the emotions of already having it, then the photo isn’t going to work for you.

Another thing that I will say is don’t give up and settle for a photo just to be done with the vision board. If you want it to work you have to choose the perfect, symbolic photos. Sometimes, I will even spend an hour searching for the right photo because I know that I have to get it right otherwise the photo is pointless. For that reason, it may even be to your benefit to spend a few days just collecting all the photos that you need. I like to do it this way because then it doesn’t feel rushed to find the photos that speak to me and when I put it all together it can just be fun and relaxing. 

5. Create your own images

When all else fails, sometimes it’s just better to create your own images for some of the items on your vision board. But that’s actually a good thing! I highly suggest that everyone take the time to create a few images on their board because it brings the item to life more and makes it more real. You’re also able to connect with it more deeply because the image is literally perfect and designed to reflect your exact desire. 

For example, the last time I made a vision board, I took the time to go on Canva, use a photo of checks and put my name on them with the desired amount of money I wanted to manifest. In less than one month, I manifested it in the most unexpected way! I also did this with my bank balance. Instead of finding an image of someone else’s bank balance, I decided to screenshot mine, and use the exact font and coloring to reflect the amount I wanted to see in the bank instead.

This makes your vision board so much more powerful because then you’re able to really see those details like your own name and your own account so that you can connect with the photos on a deeper level. It also creates a greater sense of faith that way you want will come true because you are seeing the exact outcome right in front of you!

6. Incorporate your Universal Signs

If you’ve read my blog post, “How to Recognize Universal Signs,” you know that I’m a big believer in the universe sending us little signs and nudges that we’re on the right path. I also believe that we have our very own, personal universal signs.

After I became more spiritual, started praying regularly, started raising my vibration, and manifesting more, I started to notice that I saw the same few things appearing over and over. Whenever I was in a high vibe, spiritual state, I would see yellow butterflies, hawks, shooting stars, and pink skies. After noticing that happening to me for years, I finally realized that those are my own universal signs. And we all have them! If you know some of your own universal signs (little animals, messages, or numbers that appear) incorporate those in your vision board!

By incorporating images that are symbolic of the universe having your back and guiding you, you’re going to be able to couple THAT feeling with the images of what you’re trying to manifest. You’re including an aspect of faith in your vision board which energetically makes you surrender your desires over to the universe. Rather than staring at the items and feeling like you have to control them or make them happen.

7. Add movement and texture

Another thing that you can do to make your vision board more powerful is by adding movement and texture to it. When I say add movement, I mean that you should try to place some things up and down the page (or digital vision board) or place pictures at an angle. Do things like this to add subtle movement so that the images are not rigid and all placed in a straight line. Creating that movement allows your eyes to “play” and wander around the board with more ease. Again, it’s a subtle, energetic thing that you can do to make the experience of the vision board more powerful so it works better.

As far as texture, do things that add some physical sensation or texture to the board so it feels like more of a full sensory experience. What I mean by this is maybe don’t cut some photos in a straight line, but tear them so it appears that there’s some physical sensation on the board.

What I like to do is use tape to make my physical vision boards and I put each piece of tape over the edges of the pictures instead of underneath them. Yes, I know that some people might think it’s not as “artistic” but I do that to create texture. This way, if I choose to move my hand over the vision board, I can have a sensation under my fingertips to bring the board to life. 

8. Make it a full sensory experience!

When you are creating a vision board, one thing that you can do that’s going to amplify the power of the vision board (like crazy) is making the process a full-sensory experience. 

What I mean by this, is making the process of putting together your new vision board feel lovely for all five of your senses. Put on music, sit with a cozy blanket, diffuse your essential oils, light a candle, and drink something yummy like Golden Milk or sweet tea. (Check out my blog post all about Golden Milk for my very own recipe!) By making the experience pleasurable for all five senses, you’re raising your vibration and connecting with the vision board on a deeper level.

It also just makes the creation of it more fun and exciting. AND if you really love the experience and connect all five senses to the vision board, you’re most likely going to want to use it more rather than throw it in the back of your closet.

9. Finish it in one sitting

Answer me this: Have you ever sat down, worked on half of your vision board and then told yourself… “I’ll come back to it tomorrow!”

Mhmmm. Let me guess, you didn’t get back to your vision board. And it ended up sitting in the corner of your bedroom for months collecting dust, didn’t it? Trust me, I’m not judging you! I’ve done it too!! If you’re going to give yourself one “rule” when it comes to creating a vision board, let it be this one: You have to finish it in one sitting.

We both know that your vision board isn’t going to work if it’s never finished, right? So if you want, maybe take some time to collect your photos. (I know that I need more than one day to find the right photos.) However, always do the cutting, pasting, designing, and gluing in one sitting! No one likes to come back in the middle of a half-finished project. It’s just not as satisfying. And more times than not, it will stay incomplete. 

10. Make it a ritual 

The people who I’ve met that are the most successful with vision boarding, are the people who make it a ritual. They choose a particular day like New Year’s, or their birthday, or maybe an astrological event that they feel very connected to, and they create their vision board at that time every year. It works because you’re adding discipline to your manifestation practice, BUT you’re also reminded to go back to your old board to notice all of the things that came true for you!! That alone gives you faith in the Law of Attraction and strengthens your ability to manifest whatever it is that you want.

Thank you for coming to my blog!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post all about how to create a vision board that actually works! 

If you do use this advice, tag me in your pictures or stories of your creation process and final vision board on Instagram @heather.ione! I would absolutely love to see your creations!

Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

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Jawku Muscle Blaster V2 Product Review

Health & Wellness, Product Reviews

Have you ever stumbled up a product at some point in your life and found it so helpful, so life-changing, that you thought to yourself, “How on earth did I ever live without you?” Well, that was me and Matt when it came to our precious Jawku.

This product is one that Matt and I are so obsessed with that we bring it out like it’s “show and tell” whenever we have company over, we pack it in my giant purple suitcase when we go on trips, we turn all of our friends and family on to it, we gift it, and we regularly fight over who gets to be on the receiving end of a “Jawku massage” that night. We both pathetically try our best to evoke sympathy in each other as we share how painful our knots and kinks are, hoping it will make the other person cave. 

To us, this is not just a product. It’s how we get through life without pain. It’s the reason why we have somehow lost track of where we keep all the CBD products, and topical pain lotions, and even the Tylenol in our house. (I’m not kidding).

Having this product in our lives has been life-changing for me (the person who gets TONS of tension and knots from chaining myself to my computer all day) and for Matt who does CrossFit and is prone to all sorts of tension and tightness.

The product I’m referring to is our beloved Jawku Muscle Blaster V2. (I’m honestly surprised we haven’t named it yet). 

The Benefits of Percussion Massage

So you may or may not be wondering what the heck I’m talking about right now. People either are super familiar with products like this or have never heard of them before. Matt and I find the unfamiliar people kind of fun though because they act like we’ve just practiced magic in front of them when they see our Jawku for the first time.

Essentially a percussion massager is a “handheld device that applies pulses of concentrated pressure deep into your muscle tissue.” Think of it like getting a deep tissue massage. You know how when you get a massage, the masseuse uses a bunch of techniques to get the blood flowing into the muscle? The Jawku works the same way. It keeps pulsing deep into your muscle tissue to break up any (and all) muscle tension and knots. 

The best and the most obvious benefit of using the Jawku is that it gets rid of the pain. When your muscles are relaxed and get the blood flow back into them, all of the pain, stiffness, soreness, and pressure is gone. 

Which means that there’s NO longer a need to: 

  • book a massage
  • take over-the-counter pain medication
  • apply hot compresses and pray it loosens the muscle up
  • receive half-assed massages from your significant other
  • roll your body over random household items like the side of your couch, foam rollers, and tennis balls in an attempt to get rid of a knot you can’t reach
  • keep buying random topical pain relievers and CBD products that don’t fix the root of the problem
  • constantly stretch, fidget, or crack your back for a short burst of comfort and pain relief

What you are left with after 10 minutes of using a Jawku is zero pain, increased blood flow, degradation of scar tissue, increased lymphatic flow, increased mobility, and better posture.

The complaining, pain, and discomfort disappear and you just feel good again, without paying over a hundred dollars for a massage. That’s really the reason why Matt and I love it so much. We just FEEL GOOD. The topic of conversation at dinner every night is how horrible our knots feel and then how stressed out we are about spending a hundred dollars to get them taken care of. It’s not spent brainstorming ways we could eliminate the knots ourselves. When we’re hurting, we go grab the Jawku. 

Yes, we still complain about pain in an effort to be on the receiving end of the Jawku massage, but that’s to be expected. We love it, and we both want to be the one that gets all those exciting benefits that night.

So, why Jawku?

This product is not the first or the last one of its kind. There are tons of different products out there on the market like Theragum, Hypervolt, TimTam, etc. If you have heard of percussion massagers before, then you’re probably familiar with some of the brands. 

So why did we choose Jawku?

Well, here’s the thing. Matt has been wanting a product like this for a long time. Being a CrossFit athlete and working for IRONMAN Triathalon, he was introduced to percussion massagers and knew right away that we HAD to have one. And so did I. However, as much as I knew that this product would be a huge lifesaver for me, no part of me wanted to spend $500 on a product. Heck no. Matt didn’t want to spend that kind of money either. This sent him on a quest for about 6 months in search of the perfect percussion massager.

He got a little bit obsessed. He researched the different companies, read countless reviews, talked to the different brands through his work, and tested out several percussion massagers. His hunt, eventually lead him to what he concluded was the “best” percussion massager on the market – the Jawku Muscle Blaster V2

I let him do all the work because I knew that if I started testing out the products and looking up reviews myself, I would have purchased one immediately. I know myself, and I would convince myself that I could not go on in life unless I had a percussion massager ASAP. Matt, however, has more self-control. I listened to him analyze each one of them until he finally settled on Jawku. 

He then came back one day from an event he worked in Savannah with a brand new Jawku V2, and I couldn’t have been happier. The Jawku was the only product in his search that didn’t have a “BUT,” when he talked about it. You know like… “It works so well! But it’s really expensive.” “I got rid of all my knots and I feel so much better!! But, it’s SUPER loud.” “I like it a lot. But it’s hard to hold.” Or “But, it’s heavy.” The Jawku was the one percussion massager we came across with all of the things we wanted for about half the price. 

We then spent that entire night using it on each other and ourselves, testing out each one of the attachments and raving about amazing this new toy of ours was. 

Why I have heart eyes for my Jawku 

1. It works on everything

The number one reason why I love this product is that it works on pretty much every problem or pain in my body that I’ve encountered since we got our Jawku last year. If I have a kink in my neck, a knot between my shoulder blades, a muscle cramp, or even a random lower back pain – it works. Instead of employing countless tennis balls, foam rollers, hot compresses, and over-the-counter pain pills, I just use my Jawku and the problem is solved. The reason being is that it works to loosen up and relax the fascia too (something that my tennis balls and foam rollers just couldn’t get to).

Any time you wake up with a cramp in your leg, every time your back hurts from sitting at your desk all day, any time you a knot or pain from working out, the Jawku fixes it. My friend and photographer, Ray Reyes, uses the Jawku we got him for Christmas on the muscle between his thumb and pointer finger that starts to hurt from taking pictures so often! If ever you experience muscle pain, it helps!

2. I save money on massages

You may or may not relate to this level of muscle pain, but I get tons of knots that are deep inside my shoulder blades, in my neck, and some throughout the rest of my body. They get so bad that eventually, I’m not able to stand up without hunching while feeling aches and pain spread throughout my body. Whenever the knots and tension progress in my body to that level, I have to drop to the ground and squat.

Let me tell you, this is embarrassing. When you’re not able to stand up like a normal human in the middle of a conversation and you have to drop into a squat position to stop the aching that’s spreading through your body, it’s horrible. I often worry that people think I’m rude or childish or not professional. It was especially a problem when I worked a regular job. Jobs require you to stand up like an adult and suck up the pain. Whenever this happens to me where I physically cannot stay standing, I know that I need to book a massage immediately.

It happens every month to two months which means I was spending a lot of money to fix this problem. But after I got the Jawku, I was actually able to cancel a massage appointment for the first time! I was able to keep the knots from building up out of control and it the pain from interfering with my life. Now, that’s not to say that I NEVER have to get massages again. I’m still prone to knots, pain, and tightness and a full body massage obviously has benefits that you just can’t beat on your own. But I no longer have to get a massage every month like clockwork. So within the first two months of having the Jawku, it had already paid for itself by saving me that money I would have spent at the massage studio!

3. The pain relief is instant

The next best benefit of the Jawku is that it works so quickly! I used to have to spend an hour or two dedicated to getting rid of a knot of myself or asking Matt, but within just a few minutes of using this product, the pain goes away. It gets so deep into the muscle and provides so much blood flow that you feel the relief instantly. I don’t have to wait for a pill to kick in, or a topical cream to work, or my CBD to take effect. It blasts the muscle that’s causing tension and relaxes it right away. Within just a few minutes you feel so much better!

4. It gets to the root of the problem

Before this product came into my life, much of what I was doing to relieve the pain was only fixing the symptom and not the root causes of the pain. The root cause was a knot that I couldn’t work on deep enough at home or muscle tension that wasn’t reached with a foam roller. By putting on topical creams, taking CBD, taking pain pills, and rolling on a foam roller, I wasn’t hitting the source of the pain. I was essentially putting a bandaid on it causing the pain to creep in with even more strength the next day. But by having the Jawku now, whenever I experience some tension or pain, I hit the area and Voila! It’s all better. 

5. Adjustable speed and pressure

Another thing that Matt and I love about our Jawku, is the ability to turn the speed and pressure up or down. If you want to turn the speed up, all you have to do is hit the button and the speed with increase. If you need more pressure, all you have to do is push the Jawku into the muscle a little bit deeper (even a little pressure goes a long way).

We absolutely love this part of having the Jawku because back when we used to give each other massages to help with knots and tension, we were never able to do it properly. Our hands were too weak to give each other a stronger massage (especially mine) and we really wouldn’t get many benefits. Now whenever we have a gnarly, painful knot, we just adjust the speed and push the device into the muscle a little bit more. 

6. Four attachment options

The next thing that Matt and I lost our minds over when we first got our Jawku, is the fact that it has four different attachments that work for different areas of the body. There’s a ball attachment which we use for large areas that we feel tension in – like when I have a lower pain ache or when Matt’s legs are sore from CrossFit. Then there’s a fork attachment which you use along your spine or hamstrings to get all those little itty bitty knots you otherwise couldn’t get. There’s also a flat attachment to hit flat areas of the body like the back and chest. But our all-time FAVORITE attachment is the last one. It’s a little bullet attachment that you use to get deep tissue knots and trigger points.

7. It’s light!

Another benefit of this product is that it’s super light. Compared to other devices like this on the market, the Jawku V2 is lighter, so it’s much easier to hold it up for several minutes as you’re working on a problem area. 

The other perk of this is that Matt and I have been able to take it on vacation with us! Matt and I recently took a trip to Zion National Park where we spent all week hiking. At the end of every day, we would bring out our Jawku massager and get rid of all tension from carrying backpacks and being on our feet all day long. Yes, we actually made sure there was room in our suitcase for the Jawku (case and all).

Ray (my photographer AND editor) is such an overachiever that he just reviewed this post and actually went and weighed it for us! Apparently the Jawku is only 2.4 pounds with an attachment on, and with the case weighs 4 pounds! So there you have it! The Jawku is super light!

8. The Jawku is meant for EVERYONE

The last reason why I love this product so much is because it really is meant for everyone. There are tons of products like this on the market, but I’ve found that many of them are not only very expensive but also market very heavily to athletes. The marketing strategies and language come across as, “Unless you’re a football player, Marathon run, or CrossFit athlete, don’t bother buying this product.” 

But what I like about the Jawku is there’s nothing intense about it – not in the design or the marketing. It’s just meant for normal people like you and me. People who don’t run marathons and participate in extreme sports, but still get knots, soreness, and tension too. It’s meant for anyone from an athlete to someone who spends all day at a computer like me. Every single person could benefit from it because we’re all human. If your thumb hurts from taking photos, if your neck hurts from sitting at a computer, if your legs hurt from running, if your arms are sore from weight lifting – use it!

SAVE MONEY on your Jawku!

At this point, you can probably tell that I’m in love with my Jawku. I use it weekly and it helped me get rid of so much pain that I started to turn other people onto the Jawku as well! SO, to save you all a little bit of extra cash if you decide to get your own I have a coupon code for you! 

If you use the code “HeatherIone” at check out, you will get 10% off of your order! 

Within the first minute of using the Jawku, it’s all going to make sense! I haven’t met one person that I showed this to who didn’t rave with excitement after using it. 

Some things to be mindful of…

Before you do break into your new favorite product though, here are a few things to be mindful of. Of course, you know I’m always going to be completely honest with you when it comes to reviewing products or sharing my experience. So I do want to share a few things you should be aware of before you start using it. BUT, I didn’t want to call them “cons” because it really is nothing to do with a product error. 

  • For starters, I believe that this product could help you no matter what. But, if you live alone or live with people who you can’t ask you to massage you all the time is it a bit of a downside. Sometimes I can use the Jawku on myself to get hard to reach areas on my back, but you don’t always get the same benefit when you have to do it yourself. For example, I can’t really get the inside of my shoulder blade because I have to contort my body to reach the area rather than relax while the Jawku works its magic on you. (That’s why Matt and I argue over who gets the be on the receiving end of the Jawku massage.) There have been a few times I was trying really hard to fix knots in my neck and my shoulder blade but ended up making them worse by forcing myself into a weird position to reach the area and then holding it there for 10 minutes. So if it’s a hard-to-reach spot on your back, you can’t always do it yourself. 
  • The next thing to be mindful of is that if you’re having pain because your alignment is off in your body which is then causing a knot, the Jawku is not going to fix this problem. Often the top bone in my neck pops out of place from looking down at my computer all day and causes so much pressure on my muscles that I get a knot. If that’s the case, the Jawku will only make it worse, because the cause is an alignment issue that can only be fixed by a chiropractor. 
  • The last thing to be mindful of is that this device should be used with care on your upper neck. There have been times when I went way too hard on that area because I was so happy to see that it was getting rid of my knots that I regretted it. That area is super sensitive and important because it’s where your spinal cord connects to your brain. Don’t make the same mistake I did! Be careful!

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post reviewing my favorite product – the Jawku Muscle Blaster V2. Remember to use the coupon code “HeatherIone” to get 10% off at checkout! Make sure to tag me in an Instagram story, post, video, or DM me when you do! I would love to hear how your new Jawku is treating you.

Photo by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

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My Entire Rhinoplasty Recovery: Graphic Photos, Daily Notes, Post-Op Visits, Warnings, Advice, & More

Beauty

Warning: This article is meant for people who are very curious about getting a rhinoplasty done and want to know about all of the uncomfortable details of the recovery process. This post is not sugar coated in any way. I’m NOT going to be holding back any information. I’m going to be sharing intimate details about my recovery. You should also know that all of the photos I’m about to share were taken two days after my surgery. If you do not think you can handle viewing images of the recovery from a surgical procedure, please click away. This is the honest truth about what it’s like getting a rhinoplasty.

Hello again, and welcome back to the second blog post in my series all about me getting a rhinoplasty.

In my first blog post about my procedure, I shared with you all of the reasons why I was going under the knife and getting my nose done. If you haven’t read that one yet, check out “Announcement: I’m Getting a Nose Job + Why I’m Getting It Done & What’s to Come.”

This blog post is going to be all about what you’re most curious about: RECOVERY! In this post I’m going to share what it was like throughout each stage of my recovery including: 

  • Immediately after my surgery
  • What supplements and pills I had to take
  • How I had to clean my nose
  • Daily updates for the initial 2 weeks
  • Details about Post-Op visits with my surgeon
  • Updates throughout each week of recovery up to 6 weeks
  • What products helped me through my recovery
  • Update about my nose 3 months and 4 months Post-Op
  • My takeaways from the recovery process

The third post in this series will be all about my results, whether or not I’m happy with my new nose, and a review of my plastic surgeon – Dr. Dean Davis of Davis Facial Plastic Surgery. This post will be coming about approximately 6 months after getting my surgery done on September 9th.

Lastly, I would LOVE to do a rhinoplasty Q&A just like I did with your Microblading questions to cover anything that I might have missed in this post. So send me your questions through email or Instagram and I will answer all of them!

It’s Happening! Preparing for Surgery

It’s finally freaking happening. The week has been creeping up closer and closer to when I would get my surgery done, and it crept up on me way faster than I thought it would. When I first booked my surgery for Sept. 9, 2019, it seemed like a lifetime away. But each week when I would look at my calendar last August, I was shocked at how close the date had been sneaking up on me. Matt and I had been so preoccupied with house hunting, that I had forgotten that this day was just around the corner!

At this point, it’s less than a week away from my surgery and it’s time to get ready! It’s time to start taking the supplements the surgeon gave me, pick up my prescriptions, run errands to get everything the surgeon recommended, and stock up on a whole bunch of soft foods and protein shakes. Matt made sure to get the week off during my surgery, and we’re repeatedly going over the times we have to leave for the surgery, what pills I have to take (and when), what time my surgery ends, and what times my post-op appointments are. It’s as if we’re doing some sort of emergency evacuation drill, preparing for a hurricane, or trying to escape prison. Every day we frantically go over the dates, times, and plans with each other as if our lives depended on it.

We must have read the list of instructions that the surgeon gave me a dozen times. Recovery instructions include things like: 

  • “Discontinue any vitamins, herbal, or dietary supplements”
  • “Discontinue use of aspirin, Advil, Aleve, Motrin, ibuprofen…If you need something for discomfort, you may take Tylenol”
  • “Do not remove dressing over your nose after surgery” 
  • “Do not wear glasses for 6 weeks following surgery”
  • “You are restricted from all exercising or any activity that elevates your heart rate for 6 weeks”
  • “Brush your teeth with a small child-size toothbrush to minimize mouth movement”

Most Important Post-Op Care Instructions

  1. To prevent crusting or discomfort, apply saline nasal spray and polysporin to your nostrils 4-5 times a day to keep the area moist and comfortable. First, use 2-3 squirts of saline spray in each nostril. Then, apply the polysporin around the inside of your nostrils and across any external nasal incision lines using a Q-tip. Continue this process until advised otherwise. 
  2. If you see any crusting or dried blood along the incision line, roll a Q-tip saturated with hydrogen peroxide over the incision line until clean, then roll a dry Q-tip over the incision line until dry. Apply polysporin after. You do not want a scab to form on the incision line which could widen the incision or scar line. You will probably only need to do this for a few days after surgery. (Dr. Davis instructed me to use the polysporin for as long as I can to prevent the scarring).
  3. Use an eye pack for the first 48 hours following surgery for 15-20 minutes every waking hour (Dr. Davis said I should be doing this as much as I can, even after the initial 48 hours).
  4. When sleeping keep at a 45-degree angle on at least 2-3 pillows for 6 weeks following the procedure.
  5. Do absolutely nothing but rest and recover during the first 2 weeks.
  6. No exercising, walking, or elevating heart rate for 6 weeks after surgery.
  7. Take your medications and supplements as directed on the bottle until finished unless otherwise instructed.
  8. Do not sneeze through your nose or blow your nose.

Pre-Op Shopping List

  • VitaMedica Recovery Support purchased from surgeon’s office includes Morning and Evening Formula, Bromaline, Arnica, and Probiotic
  • Prescription Medications: Valium, Hydrocodone, Antibiotic, Steroid
  • Gel eye mask
  • Saline nasal spray
  • Polysporin
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Q-tips & Tissue
  • Child sized toothbrush
  • Soft foods & protein shakes
  • Neck pillow
  • Gauze
  • Straws

Supplement & Medication Instructions

  • Steroid pack – lasts 6 days and it has the instructions on it
  • Hydrocodone and Valium – Take as needed
  • Antibiotic – Morning, Noon, Night
  • Bromelain – 2 pills 3 times a day
  • Morning Formula Supplement – 3 pills once a day
  • Evening Formula Supplement -3 pills once a day
  • Arnica – 3 tablets 3 times a day, let dissolve under your tongue

Other than all of the errands I have to do to prepare for this surgery, one thing that I also have to do to prepare is go to Davis Facial Plastic Surgery to get a dermal infusion facial done. Apparently I’m also not able to get my face wet for 2 weeks after surgery! The facial is meant to make my skin super clean and cleared out before the surgery and also to limit the breakouts and blackheads the are going to appear during the recovery process with tape on my face for those 2 weeks. The thought of not washing my face for that long is giving me anxiety.

As you could probably imagine, I’m super nervous and terrified about recovery. One of the main reasons I’m so nervous is that I’m scared about getting botched! Which I know is an incredibly irrational fear because my surgeon has done so many thousands and thousands of nose jobs in his life he could do my nose in his sleep. But still, I can’t help but wonder, “What if I’m the one person whose face gets messed up? What if it turns out worse than it was before?”

I’m also nervous about how no one yet knows that I’m getting this procedure, including my family. If you read my blog post, “Put it in the Suggestion Box: I Need an Advice Detox,” I’m sure you understand why. I’ve only told a select few people who are very supportive of me and my decisions. I knew that if I told anyone who is against plastic surgery, I was going to be harassed with fantasies about all of the ways I’m going to die or get botched during the surgery. So I was very selective about who I share this decision with.

All week my mind has been wandering thinking about all of these crazy situations that could happen where my face gets screwed up, or I end up in the hospital from a complication, or I get disowned from my family. It’s been rather unpleasant. Matt has to keep reminding me every day that it’s going to be ok…

The Day Of

The morning of my surgery was scary and nerve-wracking to say the least. We spent about an hour in the waiting room until I was finally called back for pre-op. As you can imagine I had to get undressed, change into hospital gowns, put on an IV, fill out a bunch of forms, etc. I sat there the whole time filled with anxiety.

One of the nurses asked how I was doing and I shared how I felt with her and my fears of making the wrong decision and getting “botched.” 

“Don’t be,” she said to me. “Dr. Davis is amazing at what he does. I’m getting my nose done by him next week.” And just like that I started to relax a bit.

Matt was finally allowed to see me before I went under the knife. He spent the time staring at me, smiling (mostly out of nerves) and holding my hand. Dr. Davis eventually got to the surgery center and came to see me. He told me how confident he felt about the procedure and that everything was going to be fantastic. I also remember feeling so happy that Matt got to meet him beforehand, because at this point I had already seen Dr. Davis several different times, but wanted them to meet. I remember that it seemed weird that I was getting surgery from a doctor Matt hadn’t yet met, so their meeting helped ease my mind too.

The anesthesiologist then came over and talked to me for a while and told me stories about his life, before it was eventually time into the surgery room. I said goodbye to Matt and laid on the hospital bed as they rolled me back to the room. The next several minutes they spent some time getting me ready for the surgery by putting warm blankets on me and moving me onto another bed/table where I would get the surgery would be performed.

When it was time to begin, I hadn’t even seen Dr. Davis again. The anesthesiologist stood by me and said, “You know what happened to the last guy I did this too?” “What,” I said. “He fell asleep,” he said back to me. I faked a laugh and right as I did I turned my head to the side of the room where I saw a bunch of photos of my face taped to the wall. On one side were my before pictures, and on the other were the photos of what I would look like post recovery. In those 2.5 seconds I was out. 

The Beginning of Recovery

I woke up from surgery in what felt exactly like one second later. The first thing I saw was Matt’s face. I hadn’t even realized that I had the surgery. I looked at him and muttered something along the lines of “How the hell did you get back here? You’re not supposed to be back here.” I then proceeded to only call him by his last name and kept telling the nurse that they had to watch out for him because he was “sneaky.” That’s what I remember, but apparently that’s not all that happened.

Apparently I had been awake for AWHILE. I was cranky, super mean and acting drunk as I normally am after waking up from surgery. (From now on I should start warning people about that.) Matt told me how I cursed a lot, was super angry, cranky and impatient, and apparently had a whole conversation with Dr. Davis that I don’t remember. Dr. Davis told me at most post-op appointments that he eventually just left because I was “being fussy.”

Also after waking up from surgery, I only wanted to touch the area that was operated on which meant the nurses and whoever I was with had to hold my arms down to stop me from accidentally hurting myself. That happened too. A lot happened that I don’t remember and I think that’s probably a good thing…

What I do remember is that afterward I was a giant pain for everyone there. The nurse taught Matt how to apply gauze to my face which I was supposed to use for about a week after surgery. The gauze should be applied under the nose because after surgery it’s normal for blood and snot to come out. 

Eventually Matt had to help me get dressed and take me to the bathroom, and it was time to drive home.

Day 1 Notes: 

  • I took a Valium and passed out for an hour or two after we got home which is what the nurses and doctor told me to do. They said it was best that I just relax and fall asleep.
  • I experienced no pain or discomfort until around 3 p.m. I started with having an awareness of the area for several hours before the discomfit started.
  • I’m starting to notice bruising starting around eyes. 
  • My upper teeth are kind of aching.
  • I’m experiencing lots of blood running out of my nose. (Dr. Davis told me before the surgery that he makes it so that any gunk or blood comes OUT the nostrils as opposed to going down your throat and into your stomach. That way the nose looks during recovery will then look better and you’ll feel better.)
  • It’s like I’m experiencing a slight drip of blood all day long from my nose.
  • I’m extremely nervous about my stitch and potential scarring.
  • Matt has been cleaning it with peroxide and ointment each time to it to keep it clean and moist. We’re doing the peroxide, saline, and ointment at the same time to make it easy.
  • Dr. Davis called at 4 p.m. to check on me – He shared with me that the same nerve from inside of nose also runs to the bridge of the mouth and near the teeth. It’s normal or have pain there. He said it’s similar to people who have a heart attack and continue to feel pain in the left arm. There’s nothing causing pain in that area, but the nerve is still there.
  • At night time I didn’t sleep well at all. You have to breathe through the mouth so your mouth dries out very quickly and it would constantly wake me up every 20-30 minutes.
  • I went through tons of water at night.
  • I accidentally stabbed myself in the stitch with the metal straws I’m using to drink water. I can only drink through a straw.
  • It constantly feels like my nose is running, even if nothing is coming out.

Day 2 Notes:

  • Eye bruising is much worse than yesterday. It’s very purple.
  • Starting steroid as directed.
  • I’ve been taking pain meds before I absolutely need them to prevent the pain. I’m afraid if I wait until the pain starts I won’t be able to get out of it.
  • I’m very nervous about Day 2. The nurse and surgeon warned me that days 2 & 3 would not be as easy as Day 1.
  • Nose looks more swollen underneath bandages.
  • Afternoon: Nose swelling has gone down a bit.
  • Eyes are very swollen and can only open up slightly. I’ve been icing eyes constantly since I got home from surgery.
  • The skin around my eyes is extremely red, especially in the areas I’ve been tearing up which has also caused it to get crusty.
  • Matt has been super on top of cleaning my nose, even when I’m not in the mood to do it at all.
  • My nose is throbbing a little bit.
  • I took pain pills slightly early when I started to feel pain coming on.
  • Nose is still dripping blood, so I started to keep Q-tips right next to bed so I can gently remove blood drips when I feel it.
  • Evening: went to sleep and woke up with discomfort and nose throbbing. Slight pain, but not unbearable.

Day 3 Notes:

  • This morning I’m especially nervous. I was told that day 3 could be the worst day of recovery.
  • I have a slight throbbing in my nose once it gets closer to the time when I can take more medication.
  • I spend most of the day napping ever since I came home from surgery.
  • Ray came over to take pictures of me during recovery. It was super nice seeing him and being able to talk to someone in between this. Matt and Ray talk about how impressed they are by how well I’m doing.
  • I don’t really need to have the gauze under nose anymore but I do prefer it just in case. I still have some drops of blood coming out of nose and I always have Q-tips nearby to gently get the drops off.
  • My eyes are more open than they were yesterday.
  • The tickle sensation in my nose is the worst part. It happened 3 times today where I had such an intense tickle in my nose and I felt like I had to sneeze but I couldn’t. You’re allowed to sneeze through mouth but I was so nervous to sneeze wrong that it prevented me from sneezing through my mouth and the tickle sensation kept happening. 
  • I’m eating much more today than other days which is good because I have to get as much food in my stomach as possible for all the pills I need to take.
  • Eating is very hard without being able to breathe through your nose! Thank goodness for Ripple protein shakes. They taste absolutely amazing and I’ve been practically living off of them.
  • I spoke with Dr. Davis again today and had a conversation about the pain medication. I was so terrified that it would feel like my face was run over by a car that I was taking my hydrocodone preventatively (which is apparently NOT what you’re supposed to do)!
  • My bruising is going down around my eyes but my eyelids are still very red and sensitive.
  • My eyes can now open all the way, but my eyelids are still very swollen. Icing my eyes is the only thing that makes them feel better.
  • I decided to go to sleep without gauze under nose tonight to feel a little bit more normal.
  • The past three days I keep saying that I can’t believe I got a nose job. Being in recovery feels surreal and I’m oddly proud of myself for making it through the first few days and having gotten the procedure I’ve been telling myself I wanted for years. 

Day 4 Notes:

  • This morning I woke up with a lot of discomfort and I’m trying to not take as many pain medications after talking with Dr. Davis. I didn’t sleep well at all because it’s very hard to feel comfortable with all of this going on.
  • Luckily, I did wake up with less bruising around my eyes. 
  • I keep icing my eyes and resting in bed, but still felt horrible. I finally took a hydrocodone and Valium and feel better.
  • There’s lots of dripping out of my nose, so much that I’m constantly reaching for a Q-tip. I mean constantly. It never lets up.
  • I’m looking slightly more like myself today and less like I’ve been beat up.
  • This is the first day that Matt is at work since the surgery which means I’m all alone! But luckily I mostly rest and can handle cleaning my nose or getting up to grab some food or a gel eye mask. I am a bit nervous about being home alone though.
  • My eyelids are very sensitive today, so much that even if I gently itch my eyelid it hurts a lot.
  • I switched to extra strength Tylenol today instead of my prescription and was fine.
  • I’m dying to see what my nose like but the only part of my nose that I can sort of tell what it looks like are my nostrils which look much smaller than before. 
  • I spend basically all of my time sleeping or eating so that I could take all these supplements and pills.
  • I’ve been extremely constipated from the pain killer I was talking and started to use Miralax which has finally helped today. I was extremely stopped up and bloated and of course started entertaining how I was going to end up dying or in the hospital because of it. 
  • I slept so poorly over the last several days because of how uncomfortable I’ve been that I keep yawning which stretches out my nostrils and hurts my nose, especially around the stitch.
  • I’m starting to have more blood dripping and getting even more snotty than I was before. I had to put gauze under nose again.
  • The bruises under eyes are turning yellow, but eyelids are still red.
  • I keep having that strong tickling feeling happening in my nose and ended up having sneezing fits which luckily didn’t hurt. 

If there is one thing that I would tell anyone who’s going to get a rhinoplasty or is thinking about it, it’s to be EXTREMELY CAREFUL when reaching for your face. It’s day four and I’ve accidentally tapped or bumped my nose at least 12 times already (very lightly, and not hard enough to mess up my nose, but still… that’s sh*t hurts) during recovering from a nose job it’s as if you have no spacial awareness of your face. You’ll scratch your lip and accidentally bump the tip of your nose. You’ll put a straw to your nose and stab your nose with it. You’ll wipe a tear from your eye and hit your nose. I have no idea why it’s happening or what’s going on, but it’s as if I’ve lost all sense of where my nose is located on my face. Part of me thinks it’s because most of my face is numb, especially after taking Valium and hydrocodone, but it happens even when I’m not taking those things.

If there’s one thing I have to remember it’s to move extremely slowly and carefully around my face to make sure that I go to whatever it is I’m … aiming for. 

Day 5 Notes:

  • I have been very restless and uncomfortable at night. I couldn’t sleep at all and when I did, I had bizarre dreams about saving six kittens and also going to my appointment the next day to find out that my surgeon made my nose BIGGER!
  • The stitches inside the nose have been hurting. When they do hurt it feels like a sharp pain, not horribly painful but it definitely doesn’t feel good! 

Post-Op Appointment Notes: I went to Davis Facial Plastic Surgery for my post-op appointment today so the doctor can check up on how I was doing, remove my bandage, and clean my nose. Dr. Davis was very happy with how I was recovering and how each part of my nose was healing.

He said it’s normal to have more swelling and sensitivity at the tip right after surgery, which is why a lot of people think they’re nose looks bigger than before, but he assured me that it will go down.

From what I can tell after he removed my bandages, my nose is finally smooth and straight and I don’t have those odd shadows casting on the cartilage in my nose. It’s straighter for sure!

Dr. Davis also cleaned out the inside of my nose with a machine that suctions out the snot and blood, trimmed the stitches that were sticking out, and removed the nasal stents (which I didn’t get to see because I was in pain). Apparently they were super big and gnarly. According to Matt they were several inches long, completely covered in snot and blood, and look like they were also filled with liquid. I will literally never forget the look of horror that I saw on his face when I opened my eyes. I wish I had a picture of him!

The only thing the doctor was kind of bummed about was the amount of bruising that I have. Apparently I have more bruising than most of his patients which he said is a point of pride for him that his patients have very minimal bruising. But look at me… I’m as white as a ghost, so I don’t think he should beat himself up about that.

After that, Dr. Davis cleaned the top of my nose, showed it to me in a mirror and then covered it with a neutral colored tape very strategically. The way he applies tape is meant to prevent swelling in the upper parts of the nose and instead direct any swelling to the tissue at the tip of the nose.

  • My deviated septum has been corrected and is healing nicely. 
  • He let us know that we were doing everything right and Matt was doing a FABULOUS job cleaning my stitches for me (he has to do it because I couldn’t get up in there).
  • I should come back in 6 days for another post-op appointment where the doctor will clean my nose out again.
  • Now that I have the stents out and bandages removed, I will probably be getting extra snotty.

Day 5 Notes Continued: 

  • Recovery hasn’t been super comfortable up until now but I’m very surprised at how well it’s going. I’ve been able to get up and do more today. It’s nice to not be on bed rest anymore.
  • Experiencing an extremely stuffy and runny nose, which sucks because I learned that I won’t be able to blow my nose for 3-4 weeks! Blowing my nose could mess up the cartilage and undo all of the work from surgery and cause asymmetry. This part is driving me crazy and feels super gross, especially because there’s usually blood mixed in with it. It’s such a gross feeling to have all of that going on and not be able to blow your nose and get rid of that uncomfortable feeling. 
  • Stitches are uncomfortable probably because Dr. Davis was pretty rough with them.
  • Recovery is starting to feel more rough than previous days because I’m not spending all day sleeping.
  • Experiencing constipation from pain pills.
  • The stitches hurt and my face aches a bit.
  • I really want to do to sleep but I’m having a hard time.

Day 6 Notes:

  • Today, I woke up extremely early and haven’t been able to fall back asleep, just like all the other mornings since the surgery.
  • I’m extremely stuffy and blood is still coming out. Finally I had to stuff pieces of tissues up my nostrils so I didn’t have to constantly wipe my nose.
  • Still constipated from the pain pills.
  • The redness around my eyes has started fading but underneath it, my eyes are still very yellow from the bruising. 
  • The bandges are gone and I only have tape on my nose. It’s very hard to tell what my nose will look like so that’s been frustrating me. 
  • Finally went to the bathroom, cue the confetti.
  • My nose is running CONSTANTLY. It’s also super stuffy that I can’t breathe. It’s a really crappy feeling because it’s like having a sinus infection but being forbidden to blow your nose. Make it stop!!!
  • Lucky for me even though I still feel gross and have tape on my face, I’m feeling more like myself again and had the energy to write all day.
  • I took Tylenol in the morning but then never had to take it again. But at 3:30 pm, Matt made me laugh hard three separate times (which he knows he shouldn’t be  doing). Whenever I smile or laugh I have to sort of hold my nostrils closer together to limit stretching of the stitches and it hurts pretty bad.
  • I finally called Dr. Davis to ask about facial expressions. I’m a HUGE worrier and was afraid that having laughed and smiled I would somehow offset my nose and screw up my recovery. He assured me that I wouldn’t. Dr. Davis also told me that the tip of the nose where the stitches are will be sensitive for a while so it’s normal for it to be painful right now. He also told me that the tip of the nose will be harder for 3-4 months after the surgery while it’s still healing. Because of this, many patients say that smiling feels weird to them even months afterwards, and say that it feels like there’s something different going on with their upper lip.
  • As far as my nose being crazy stuffy and runny, Dr. Davis told me that in surgery he makes it so that everything comes OUT of your nose as opposed to going down your throat. Unfortunately, it feels like I’m drowning in snot. I’ve been using Q-tips to wipe away whatever is coming out of my nostrils and clean inside a little bit (which I’m not actually supposed to do). I shouldn’t be putting anything up my nose, but I’m being careful to be super gentle. It’s the only thing I can do to make it feel somewhat clean and less gross.

Day 7 Notes:

  • Last night, I woke up at least 6 times with an extremely dry throat from breathing through my mouth. In the morning, I accidentally woke up on my right side even though I was still elevated. I should be laying completely flat on my back so that one side doesn’t swell up more than the other and offset the cartilage and cause me to have a crooked nose. It’s extremely hard to do when I only sleep on my side or on my stomach. 
  • The stitches are hurting.
  • I tried to clean the snot out of my nose which only made my nose hurt even worse, so I’m taking Tylenol today.
  • The bruising around eyes is getting better, especially the parts that were super red.
  • I can’t get any air through my right nostril which is causing me to have constant  unrealistic fears I won’t ever be able to breathe through it.
  • I’m also having fears my nose is still big, which Dr. Davis warned me I would worry about because the swelling makes the nose look so much bigger. Right now, I’m mostly concerned about profile, and whether that’s still too big. I constantly find myself going to the bathroom to examine my nose and try to make out the size under the tape.
  • I much prefer the day right after the surgery when I was just drugged up and sleeping to this stage of the recovery when I’m up and about, feeling gross all day, and panicking about the outcome.
  • There’s been less dripping and grossness compared to yesterday and the stitches don’t hurt AS bad.
  • The biggest problem right now to me is how much I just want to move my freaking body. I’ve been on bed rest all week and it’s getting SO old. There’s really nothing I can do but stay home and rest. I wish so badly to just stretch or go for a walk. But stretching would cause blood to rush to my face (which could ruin my results) and walking would raise my heart rate (which could also ruin the results).
  • I also can’t breathe through my nose when I’m eating so I always have to catch my breath after swallowing something. Whenever I eat I feel like Mac on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” when he’s wheezing and eating at the same time.
  • The dissolvable stitches on the tip of my nose seem to be sticking out more. 

I also wanted to share that this week I’ve been having lots of feelings of being so ugly and so hideous from recovery that I spent all week thinking of every possible way I could make myself feel pretty after surgery. Looking like a zombie has me thinking that I need to shop for clothes, get botox injections, get a personal trainer, get fillers, do a boudoir shoot, etc.. This recovery has escalated all of my insecurities this week and made them so much worse. I’m finding that I’m more critical of my body than I ever have been and hyper focused on how to look better.

This is something that my friend who had a rhinoplasty also warned me about. Unfortunately, at the time of the recovery, I completely forgot about what she told me. But I think this is something that’s so important to share, because if you’re thinking about getting plastic surgery, then you’re probably more critical of your body too and have insecurities that you’re struggling with. Please know that right after surgery, it’s going to feel worse than before. You won’t feel like yourself and you’ll look like a zombie on “The Walking Dead.” It’s just part of the recovery and it’s not permanent!

Day 8 Notes:

  • Today I woke up super uncomfortable and my nose was hurting, but once I took Tylenol it was fine. The left side still felt sore and achy though even after I took Tylenol. Once it wears off, the left side of nose hurts much more and I’ll occasionally feel pain in one specific spot.
  • The tape on my face is getting grosser each day. It’s getting sticky and is disintegrating from the oil on my face.
  • The bruising is still yellow and I still have some red spots around eyes. The stitches on the tip of my nose also seem to be sticking out more now that the little wound is healing.
  • Something interesting that happened was that today is the first time since post-op that the Face ID on my phone worked.
  • My nose isn’t as stuffy anymore today and I don’t need to constantly keep tissue or Q-tips right next to me like I was before.
  • I’m feeling better too. This is actually the first day that I felt well enough to sit at the kitchen counter and write all day and not have to lay in bed or on the couch! I can also laugh a little bit more without being in pain.
  • I generally feel better, but I still look gross and I can’t help but be bothered that the tape is peeling and getting much worse all day long. It doesn’t help that it’s so itchy underneath the tape too. I actually have to use a bobby pin to itch under the tape at the spot where it’s bothering me and have had to keep it next to me all day so I can keep scratching that’s driving me crazy.
  • At the end of the day, Matt helped with washing my hair in the shower this time instead of the sink, works out MUCH BETTER. My face and tape might be gross, but thank goodness for the clean hair.
  • I’ve experienced horrible heartburn every night for the last 3 nights probably because of all the pills and the limited, salty diet. It’s keeping me up and making me even more restless. It ended up keeping me up again tonight too.

Day 9 Notes:

  • Today I had to put extra tape over the tape that Dr. Davis put on at the post-op appointment. It was sort of disintegrating and getting really sticky from the oil on my face because I can’t wash it, which caused it to peel significantly around my cheeks closer to my mouth whenever I smiled.
  • It’s still itching under the tape on the right side of my face a lot, so that bobby pin stays by my side all day long. The itching has actually gotten worse since yesterday.
  • Some of the stitches look like they’re sticking out a little bit more than yesterday. I don’t know if they’re coming apart or starting to deteriorate or something as I’m healing more. Maybe my body and skin are pushing them out as I’m healing? I don’t know, is that a thing?
  • I can tell that the swelling has gone down significantly since the previous week. My nose looks smaller than it did yesterday and it’s starting to look cuter.
  • The bruises (especially the yellow ones) are still there but they’re getting closer to fading away. There’s no signs of any black or blue bruising left, just a few red spots around my eyes. My pores are starting to get clogged and lots of blackheads are popping up.
  • The tip of my nose feels almost entirely numb. I haven’t really touched the tip of my nose and really felt it until today and I was surprised by what little feeling I have in that spot. I can hardly feel any sensations there at all.
  • The left side still hurts a bit more, but only if I tap on it or touch it (even lightly) but it’s getting better. You might be thinking, “Why the fuck are you touching your nose when you’re still healing, Heather?” I can’t help it! I’m just so curious! 

Today is the first day where I actually can say I feel good and feel normal, which means that this is the part that my doctor and nurses kept warning me about. I feel pretty normal now, BUT that doesn’t mean I’m ok do things as normal. I’m still technically on Dr. Davis’s “Princess Time,” where I’m not supposed to be doing ANYTHING for two weeks. It’s just difficult to remember things like don’t bend down or don’t lean forward. But, I’m not really in pain or anything, so that’s what’s important. At this point, the recovery feels more inconvenient and annoying, so I would say to anyone wanting a rhinoplasty you can handle it.

I am still of course staying home and mostly sitting down and resting, but I do get things for myself now without struggling. I’m still just taking it as easy as possible by not cleaning the apartment, for example. But I am sitting up and working on my laptop during the day. I’m feeling well enough to where Matt and I were able to invite one of our best friends over tonight to hang out. Even though I still have tape on my nose, we knew he didn’t care and wouldn’t judge me. I didn’t care either, it felt so nice to talk and have human interaction again!! I’ve been trapped inside all alone for days now!

So far, only a handful of people have seen me (Matt, Pat, Ray, Dr. Davis, and the nurses) they all have said how blown away they are by how normal I look and that I look “great.” I personally think great is a strong word, BUT I see their point. They all said that they were expecting me to look more bruised and bandaged and basically like a zombie for weeks so it’s impressive how quickly I’m recovering. 

In other good news, I was able to give Matt a kiss for the first time in nine days! AND, I’m now able to laugh, smile, and yawn without the stitches hurting and needing to take Tylenol.

Day 10 Notes:

  • The yellow bruises faded significantly and I only have two very small red spots still on my face from bruising.
  • My nose is much more cleared up, although I still am breathing through my mouth. I haven’t had to keep Q-tips by me at all, just one tissue that I use occasionally.
  • A few spots are still a bit tender, but so much better than before. Now if I feel uncomfortable at all, I only have to take one Tylenol.
  • The tape is now super gross and I can’t freaking wait to get it off tomorrow. The oil on my face is causing the top of the tape to disintegrate leaving only the underneath, sticky part of it. I tried to put more tape over it several times so it would look less gross and be less sticky, but it’s not working. I seriously cannot wait to get this tape of and to wash my face!!!!
  • I’m pretty much feeling normal today and was able to do work at the kitchen counter all day. If it weren’t for having to breathe through my mouth and the numbness at the tip of my nose, I probably would feel the same as I always do.
  • I did forget to mention that whenever I lean forward or start to bend over even a little bit, there’s a very odd sensation in the tip of my nose. It’s similar to like a pounding feeling where I can feel my heartbeat, but also like I can feel the blood rush to the area. Even just a slight leaning forward makes it happen. But I think it’s a good thing because it reminds me to be careful and not bend over.
  • By the end of the day my nose is feeling incredibly weird. As if there’s this pressure. It’s like a combination of tingling, numbness, and pressure. I have no idea how to describe it other than that. It doesn’t hurt, but I’m very aware of my nose and feel it constantly. I also accidentally bumped my nose at night, which didn’t feel great or help at all! 
  • Little milestone of the day: I’m now finally able to drink things without using a straw!

Day 11 Notes:

I had crippling anxiety since last night at 7:30 and laid awake in a horrible state of panic until 7:30 a.m.! I was literally wide awake all night. Finally I fell sleep at 7:30 a.m., but then woke up at noon with the same anxiety! That has never happened to me in my life. I think it’s from not being able to do things, being stuck inside, and major life changes that are causing anxiety. Plus I’m trying to land an opportunity which is causing me additional stress. Normally when I feel like this though I run, but I can’t exercise for 6 weeks after surgery!

  • Because I have to breathe through my mouth even while I’m eating, I’ve been constantly burping from air in my stomach. As of today, I’m officially sick of it.

Post- Op Appointment Notes:

At the beginning of my appointment, I opened up to them about the anxiety which they said is incredibly normal and is experienced by most cosmetic surgery patients, ESPECIALLY those who get a nose job. Apparently, it’s from the steroids.

What happens is the steroids have you feeling really good at first when you just got the surgery done so you’re excited about this change. You get to take care of the nose and have a little routine. All of this means that you feel normal and pretty good. Then around day 11 or 12, you come down from the steroids and have a crash which causes a major mood change. On top of that you’re stuck inside and unable to do anything or move AND unable to see the final result so it’s a lot to go through. All of those factors cause you to have a very high highs and then a very strong crash and mood swings.

My nurse tells me that they hear this same complaint from everyone. She also shares with me that they had my “nose brother” in that day (which is what they call the people who get the same surgery as you on the same day as you) and he was going through ALL of the same things I was.

  • Today is my next appointment where I get the tape off – thank goodness. It’s all I can think about. Once the tape came off, Dr. Davis said that everything was absolutely 100% perfect.
  • This means that I’m officially seeing my new nose for the first time! It looks SO good and for the first time I can see that all of the flaws that I talked about in my first rhinoplasty blog are all corrected (including the cartilage that used to stick out when I smiled) bumps, and the width. The only problem is that the tip is very round at the moment. It’s such a relief to finally see it and know that all of those worries I had about getting botched or it turned out bad are gone for good!
  • I was also told that I can finally wash my face and hair again normally and most importantly, get out of the house!
  • I also admitted that I had woken up on my side, used Q-tips when I was told to not attempt to clean the inside of my own nose, and accidentally bumped it. I thought Dr. Davis would be shocked or upset with me but he was not surprised by this at all. Apparently I’m not the first patient he’s had who wasn’t PERFECT. Who knew? And here I was beating myself up about it.

Dr. Davis once again explained why I should absolutely NOT exercise or elevate my heart rate at all. Apparently it could completely damage the results by off-setting the nose, causing swelling that would screw up results, and even deviate the septum again. I keep saying that I completely understand that I can’t work out, but it seems he and the nurse are the most worried about patients exercising during recovery. Even if I just go for a walk it could entirely screw up the work they did. However, after 6 weeks, everything is settled so even if it swells from exercise, it will go back to normal and not cause any long term damage. Swelling and bloating in my face and nose will still happen when I exercise after the 6 week mark, but it will go away rather quickly and not cause any long term damage because the nose is already set then.

  • Dr. Davis also talked to me about how it’s important that I avoid sun and absolutely stay elevated while sleeping.
  • He shared that my nose will continue to get smaller in the next 3 months and after that it will “refine” for up to a year.
  • Lastly, Dr. Davis said to come back for another appointment in 10-12 days. 

Day 11 Notes Continued: 

  • It’s cool because Matt’s work is directly across from Davis Facial Plastic Surgery so as I’m writing notes from today I’m waiting for him to come out and check out the nose for the first time! Update: He likes it!
  • Surprisingly, I have no acne even though I just had my face covered for over 10 days. I also only have two small blue bruises on the tops of cheeks when the tape came off which I was able to cover up with 2 dots of concealer. So lucky for me, I’m finally able to get out of the house and run an errand today!
  • My nose still has that odd tingling and numbing sensation all the time that makes it feel like I have a Frankenstein nose. It doesn’t hurt, but it just feels bizarre. 
  • I’m finally getting close to the end of taking the countless pills I have to take everyday. It’s crazy having to take a handful of pills every 6 hours for 11 days. I’m looking forward to not having to remember it and seeing that I’m getting closer to the end of the bottles. 
  • In the evening I feel similar to when I have a cold – like I’m stuffy, low on energy, and like my nose is swollen and big as if I’ve been blowing my nose all day.
  • One thing I’m really happy about is that I was able to wash my face and my nose for the first time! It feels so good to have a clean nose again! I did have to be super gentle around my nose though and barely touch my skin. When I did, the skin on nose felt super rough. 
  • Physically, my entire body is not feeling good. I even have this horrible knot that’s been growing in my calf from laying down and not doing anything for the last 11 days. I had to spend the rest of the night using a hot compress on my calves to try to loosen it up. 

Day 12 Notes:

  • I took Z-quil last night and was able to actually go to sleep AND wake up at 8 a.m., so I finally am feeling like I’m more normal and on schedule again. 
  • Brusises are still lingering, but definitely fading.
  • Nose still very much swollen and probably will be for many weeks/months.
  • Experiencing hot flashes throughout the day.
  • I’m a little congested but I was finally about to move the tissue boxes to their normal places in the apartment and not need them by me at all times. I was able to move our bathroom trashcan back into the bathroom and not have it next to the bed. Until now I constantly had a tissue box and a trash can with me at all times because my nose was constantly dripping. I’m finally at the point where my day isn’t consumed with caring for my nose. I was even able to clean up the apartment and go about my day the way I normally would.

This morning I woke up with anxiety, just as I did yesterday, but it was much more subtle. It wasn’t as crippling and I could push through and go about my day. But then I noticed something odd happening – the anxiety slowly built up until it eventually turned into an anxiety attack that literally made me feel like I was dying. The only way I could break the anxiety attack was by taking the medication that was prescribed to me. Even that only helped a little bit. I can only hope that this anxiety will pass in the next few days. 

I do want to mention that having anxiety to this extent makes you feel for people with anxiety disorders. Because this anxiety is a side effect of taking steroids, it’s something internal that I can’t control. No amount of deep breathing or meditation can overcome the anxiety throughout my body. I can imagine this is exactly how people with anxiety disorders feel and I’m sure it’s incredibly frustrating when people would say things like, “Oh, you should just meditate!” There’s no way that something like that could make this consuming anxiety in every cell of my body go away. This anxiety isn’t fed by my thoughts or fears, it’s just there. It just comes out of nowhere and fills my entire body with a feeling so terrible that I can’t even put it into words. There’s nothing I can do to stop it from coming or getting worse. I just have to let it run its course.

  • Toward the end of the day Matt and I decided to start cleaning out our closest which is overflowing with things we never wear. I put everything on the bed Marie Kondo style and started purging, putting on clothes to see if they even fit, and organizing them into sell/donate/keep. Eventually I realized that I was moving a lot and my heart rate was up and I was getting warm. I could tell I was doing too much and over extending myself. If Dr. Davis saw me he would be telling me to sit the f*ck down because I’m still on “princess time.” I had Matt move the rest of my massive pile into the living room to work on tomorrow. I was so happy that we did that though, it felt good to clean and organize because decluttering is something I love to do whenever I’m having a bunch of anxiety (also because I watched all of “Tiny House Nation,” “How to Live Mortgage Free,” and the “Minimalism” documentary during my recovery time).
  • Thank goodness for Z-quil, because without it I would have been up all night again.

Day 13 Notes:

  • It’s my last day of antibiotics!
  • I feel basically back to normal, so I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not normal yet.
  • Mother Nature decided to give me a little surprise this morning on top of everything else, which I’m not happy about.
  • I also was able to put a full face of make-up on! So I look much better, however it’s odd because putting my makeup on actually accented my nose and made me notice how much bigger it looks. I think it was because I thought putting my make-up on had me expecting that I look “normal” and like myself again, but when your nose is swollen and big, it doesn’t quite work. 
  • What is left of the bruises on my face are very, very, very stubborn. I keep going to sleep thinking, “Ok, tomorrow they’ll be gone.” And then they aren’t! Today, I noticed that they’re turning darker and more blue and are showing through my makeup. It probably doesn’t help that I have super light skin.
  • I spent the whole morning out and about doing things like light walking or standing around, but I was still worried that I shouldn’t be doing “anything at all.” Even if I walk a little bit, I get paranoid that I’m going to screw up my nose and cause damage that could only be fixed by MORE surgery. It’s so stressful.

Luckily for me, the anxiety hasn’t hit me today. It probably helps because Matt’s home today and we’re staying busy by doing things we’ve been meaning to do like cleaning and errands. We ended up being busy from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

As I’m writing these notes, we have A LOT going on in our lives right now. I can finally mention it now that my announcement was posted, but we closed on our first house, three days after my surgery! So we ended up spending the entire day running errands, cleaning up, and doing little odd projects because immediately when my 6 week recovery is finished, our lease ends on our apartment and we have to be moved into our home. In the meantime we need TONS of things for the house AND we’re in the process of getting the bathroom remodeled. So we’re constantly making trips to home improvement stores and picking out every little detail we want in our bathroom. If it’s not done by the day we move in, I don’t know what we’ll do!

Anyways, I noticed that this morning when we were doings things like getting breakfast and doing some errands, I felt very normal. But slowly, by the time evening came around I was beginning to feel crappy. My entire body started to ache more and more and I was becoming more exhausted by the hour.

What I’m experiencing now with my recovery is basically the same feeling you would experience when you’re catching a cold. Plus, I’m still congested and my nose feels big and swollen. I don’t believe I’m coming down with anything, because if I was I would have tons of sinus issues and a cough already. I bet I was just not a recovered as I felt today when I woke up and started over extending myself. Even though I didn’t do tons of physical activity, I was still up and about, going from store to store, and getting a bunch of things done at home, without getting to rest at all. Even if I’m not doing a lot of physical activity, spending all day on my feet is a bad idea. It just goes to show that surgery is a big deal and takes a toll on your body, even if it’s a quick, easy, and low risk surgery. I probably shouldn’t have kept as busy as I did all day. But, it’s hard to not do anything when you’re in the process of moving!

  • Today I found myself constantly bending over to grab something or doing something I probably shouldn’t have, thinking to myself, “Oh, it’ll be fine.” Which in reality I know is 100% not fine.
  • Another thing that I have to remind myself is to not touch my face or nose. Whenever I feel really crappy, my body naturally wants to massage the top of my nose between my eyes with my finger tips, or put my head into my hands, or press on my sinuses if I feel sick or exhausted, but I can’t do any of those things. The things that I normally do to comfort myself only makes me feel worse right now.
  • I still have to just barely touch my nose with my fingertips when I wash my face. So much that it just feels like I’m just tickling my skin. Any pressure on my nose AT ALL would feel terrible.
  • By the end of today at 9 p.m. I ended up taking one of my extra strength Tylenol again because my nose was a bit uncomfortable, especially if I yawned.
  • The main takeaway from today is that I’m at the point where I’m very much on the verge of being normal and I’m getting annoyed with having to baby myself. Knowing that I’m not physically able to go for a long walk, or clean up, or lift things is hard to wrap my head around. The good news is that tomorrow I’ll have finally reached the first two weeks and will start feeling better and better. 

Day 14 Notes:

  • Woke up feeling very good and normal.
  • I ended up spending the whole day out with Matt again. As the day went on I kept feeling worse and worse, just like yesterday. My nose kept feeling more stuffy, my nose was running constantly, I kept sniffing, and I felt dripping in the back of my throat. Finally we realized that Matt and I might actually be coming down with a cold!! It’s the absolute WORST time to get sick, since I can’t blow my nose another one or TWO weeks! I’m so bummed out that I’m starting to get sick right as I was getting better from the surgery. Also because I get chronic sinus infections, which sometimes end up lasting up to 2 or 3 months at a time (not kidding).
  • Still experiencing anxiety. I’ll occasionally end up on the verge of an anxiety attack that happens without any warning or trigger. Although the anxiety is slowly getting better, it still happens. The anxiety is so strong and overwhelming that I started carrying Alazropam in case it happens while I’m in public or gets so bad that I can’t get control of it. 
  • Physically my nose hasn’t hurt or bothered me once today.
  • Tip of nose appears to be less swollen today.
  • Bruising is still hanging on for dear life.

Day 15 Notes:

I was only planning on doing daily notes until the two week mark, but since I had to call the office today and talk to the nurse, I thought I should pass on information that they shared…

  • I explained to the nurse that I caught a cold, and since I was a child my colds turn into chronic sinus infections that can last up to two or three months at a time. I was worried about what to do if I had to blow my nose and I was afraid that this would impact my results if I ended up sneezing or needing to blow my nose. She said that I should try to hold out as long as possible because Dr. Davis gives people the go ahead to blow their nose around 3.5 weeks. BUT if I absolutely need too, I should only blow my nose in the shower and without manipulating the outside of my nose. I have to let the stream loosen up the mucus naturally and make the inside of my nose moist so I won’t need to use a lot of pressure to blow my nose. She said I also should make sure that I’m using my saline 24/7 to keep the inside of my nose from drying out and to help the mucus come out .
  • Another thing that she also warned me about is that in the next week I might have scabbing on the inside of my nose start to come out. It could either fall out of the front of my nose along with the ends of the stitches or down the back of my throat along with mucus. She warned me that it’s absolutely disgusting, but she didn’t want me to be surprised when it happened. 
  • Other than that I still have bruises.
  • Now that it’s no longer the weekend I don’t have to be out running errands with Matt today, I plan on spending the day in bed working on the blog and getting some rest.

Week 3 Notes:

  • Some yellow bruises STILL hanging around.
  • I’m getting really, really tired of sleeping elevated and find myself cheating a bit by slightly turning over on my side to get comfortable.

Post- Op Appointment Notes: The nurse and Dr. Davis both said everything looked like it was healing perfectly, which is wonderful news! Dr. Davis describes a rhinoplasty as a moving target. You have to constantly check in on it to make sure that the recovery is moving in the right direction. 

My nose is leaning left today though. This could happen because the nose could heal slightly differently on each side or because a certain side could be more swollen for various reasons like if I slept on one side more. That’s why some days my nose looks perfectly straight, some days it leans to the left, and some days it leans to the right. Dr. Davis also told me that in the future (around week 4 or 5)  I might have to do nose “exercises” which he calls them. This is just when I gently hold the tip of my nose over to the opposite side it’s leaning and hold it there (with no pressure) for 30 seconds to one minute. This helps train the nose so that it heals perfectly straight.

Dr. Davis also said that he could tell I was being good by not exercising or elevating my heart rate. If I had, my nose would have been much more swollen today. But my swelling has gone down a good amount since my surgery. The other good news that I got is that I can FINALLY blow my nose (in the shower) as long as I don’t move or manipulate the outside of my nose. There’s not as much of a risk now of me displacing the cartilage as long as I’m super gentle about it and do it the way the nurse described. He also reminded me that although the tip of my nose is very hard and stiff, it will shrink and relax over time.

Then at the end of my appointment, Dr. Davis did something crazy where he put on glasses with a flashlight on them, got out some medical tools, and went up into my nose to remove the boogers. I can’t even tell you how horrifying and bizarre that was to see what’s really hiding up inside your nose! But he had to do that because your nose gets so congested from a rhinoplasty, and otherwise, what’s stuck up there wouldn’t come out for weeks!

Week 4 Notes: 

  • My bruises are gone !!!!!! FINALLY!
  • I’m still super congested.
  • I’m now beyond annoyed with having to sleep at a 45 degree angle still. I haven’t slept normally and comfortably in so long.
  • It’s still very difficult to remind myself that I’m not healed and still in recovery. Things that I could normally do without a problem I have to be very cautious to not go overboard. 
  • I’m having tons of sneezing and allergies! And this fun thing keeps happening all day, where whenever I sneeze (even though it’s through my mouth) it loosens everything up and there goes the next 10 minutes that I have to spend blowing my nose and attempting to clean it out. 
  • My stitches are still hanging around on the inside of the nose.
  • I feel basically normal again, so much that this week I got to go to Cincinnati for a long weekend and be a tourist! That problem is no longer happening where I slowly feel worse throughout the day. I was able to walk around a bit, see different stores and museums, and go to the Blink Festival without feeling bad at the end of the day. 

Week 5 Notes:

  • It’s the end of week 5 and I’m an OVER sleeping elevated. At this point I cheat constantly. For as long as I can remember, I have only ever been able to sleep on my sides or on my stomach, so 5+ weeks of not sleeping well has really caught up to me and affected my mood.
  • Another development in the recovery is that the inside of my nose is extremely itchy all the time.

Post-Op Appointment Notes: I’m not exactly at week 6 right now, because I’m at the end of week five, but today is my 6-week post op appointment to check in with my recovery again. 

Dr. Davis was mostly checking to see how the bones feel and how the light trail looked on my nose. He said everything is perfect. I’m especially excited about noticing my “light trail” on my nose today since I can see that it’s perfectly straight! Because I used to model so much, I was familiar with how my light trail was screwed up before. It would always look crooked and there were bumps and imperfections in my bones and cartilage that would cause the light trail to be choppy and have a bunch of shadows. It’s the little things like that which make a huge difference in people’s appearance. Also because my nose is so straight today, he told me that I didn’t have to do the exercises that we talked about during our last appointment.

Dr. Davis also informed me that I can now go back to being normal again and working out again. He just wanted me to understand that it is still not entirely healed. According to him, my nose is 80% healed so if he punched me and broke my nose it would require 20% less pressure. 

He also shared that it’s normal for my nose to feel very itchy and have symptoms like allergies. My nose will still be extremely stiff for up to 6 months and maybe even a year or a year and a half. Dr. Davis says that the length of recovery is the worst part of a rhinoplasty because the healing process is so dragged out. It takes a VERY long time for the tip of the nose to relax.

The one thing that is a bit concerning about my healing is that my nose is much more shallow in the center while the top of my nose closer to my brows is wider. It’s more shallow than normal so Dr. Davis said he’s going to keep an eye on that. He shared with me that during the surgery he did cartilage grafting on that part of my nose. To do this, he basically took little broken pieces of cartilage and placed them along that part of my nose so it would blend together. However this shouldn’t be a problem with the healing and can actually be a good thing.

Dr. Davis informed me that when the tip of the nose starts to relax, some of the volume is pushed back up the nose along the cartilage and creates a more even look. (This always happens, it’s just the way it heals). For that reason, if my cartilage was thicker in the center of my nose and matched the bridge of my nose now, it could actually become a problem later because that will only get bigger when the tip of the nose relaxes.

Moving forward, he informed me that there’s tons of “tricks” they can do to correct any issues in healing like mine to ensure the nose recovers with the look we’re going for. For example, he could do a steroid injection on the tip of my nose at 6 months if it’s super tight and still not relaxing or shrinking. This will speed that process up. Then if the center is still shallow, he can do an injection that he described to me as a “bone paste.” It’s essentially a permanent filler that will harden along the cartilage to even it out so it’s perfectly smooth. 

When I asked him about why I still had stitches inside of my nose that weren’t disintegrating, he said that he uses 2 types of stitches – one of them dissolves like what he used on my septum and those are gone. The other kind he uses are semi-permanent and will stay in my nose for close to a year to keep it in place so it heels properly. However, many other surgeons use permanent stitches inside the nose that never come out. For that reason, when he does revision rhinoplastys he tends to come across small pieces of blue and purple stitches. 

Two rules that he gave me were to avoid the sun and NOT wear glasses unless they are completely pushed up to the top of my nose and not sliding down. If I wore glasses any lower if could mess up the cartilage or create indents in my skin because my face and nose still are slightly swollen.

Dr. Davis also said I could work out again now because I work out “like a normal person.” The only problems he has with people working out past the 6-week mark is when it comes to athletes. It’s ok to go back to the gym at 6 weeks, however an athlete’s idea of “going back to the gym” is problematic and can still ruin the results. The key is exercise in MODERATION. Training for triathlons, running marathons or half marathons, double or triple exercises a day, or doing obstacle courses is not considered to be a moderate exercise. The average workout with some weights, jogging, and conditioning is ok. 

When it comes to working out, he also warned me that it may make my nose appear swollen and bigger again. Even more interesting than that, so could my diet and lifestyle! He said that if I went out one night ate a bunch of greasy and salty fast food and drank more, then I would see swelling too. I thought that was odd, but I guess it makes sense. 

During this appointment, I asked him LOTS of questions repeatedly like, “Is it ok if I work out?” It was like I was afraid the answer would change and I had to be absolutely sure. Over and over he told me I was completely able to go back to my normal life after week six. But I’m not the only patient that gets paranoid like this during their post-op appointments. Dr. Davis told me, “the problem is that I create sort of emotionally handicapped people when it comes to their nose.” He wants people to take recovery seriously so he overwhelms them with guidelines and rules of what to do and what not to do because he knows that people will be relaxed, and cheat, and get sloppy or slack off here and there. He has to create a bit of a panic so people are careful and he can protect his work. Unfortunately, by the end of the six weeks people are so scared about ruining their results that it takes them a few weeks to calm down and relax again.

Week 6 Notes:

  • I finally made it through week 6 and thank goodness! It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time either because we’re moving and the next 48 hours is going to be chaotic.
  • The itching went away for the most part.
  • I finally feel like I’m more normal now.
  • The only time my nose hurts is if I touch the tip of it, it’s tender and I can feel the stitches a bit. The tip of the nose is still very hard, but the swelling has gone down a ton.
  • I’m now sleeping on my side again which feels so amazing, I can’t even tell you. I still avoid sleeping on my stomach though, because it would hurt anyways and I really don’t want to push it. 
  • I’m so happy to get back to normal life, my blog has lost a lot of steam during my recovery and I haven’t been in the mindset to create during the last 6 weeks. I felt terrible, I wasn’t sleeping well, and I had tons of bruises that make me not want to leave the house. It feels so good to be out and just be a normal human being again, not a patient.

3 Months Post Surgery Notes:

  • The tip of my nose is still very hard but it has shrunk.
  • My nose doesn’t hurt at all anymore, but the inside of my nostrils is still incredibly itchy.
  • The semi-permanent stitches are still in and are just as thick and pointing as they were 3 months ago and I’m worried that they will never go away.
  • I’m still avoiding wearing regular glasses or sunglasses so there aren’t indents on my nose but I don’t care all that much because it feels uncomfortable and hurts when I wear glasses anyways.

3 Month Post-Op Appointment Notes: My nose is healing just fine, but today it is turning left a little bit. Dr. Davis wants me to be hyper aware of my nose and whether it’s straight or leaning each day. If it is leaning, I should do the exercise he taught me to help stretch out the side that’s shortened. He also told me that at the 6 month appointment, he may do a few things to it like injections if he finds that my nose needs it. For now we just have to let the tip loosen up and wait for some of the volume to disperse around my cartilage.

4 Months Post Surgery Notes:

  • The tip of my nose feels much more normal again. It seemed to happen all at once. One day I just touched my nose and it didn’t feel hard and stiff anymore. I’m also able to move my nose back and forth if I have tickle or anything like that.
  • My stitches inside my nose have been disintegrating more and more in the last month which makes me really happy to see. As these little things correct themselves, it’s nice to have my nose slowly take up less energy and space in my mind. For years (and especially during the recovery) my nose and how I felt about it was always at the front of my mind.
  • My nose is still slightly swollen and round at the tip which you mostly see from the profile now, but not straight on. 
  • I am now finally exercising regularly now that I’m not scared of ruining my nose and now that life has finally calmed now. It feels SO good!
  • The one thing that still irritates me is how itchy the inside of my nostrils are. That part still never went away!

Takeaways From My Rhinoplasty Recovery

There you have it. That was my full recovery experience. And trust me, I know that was a lot. But I wrote this post specifically for the women that I’ve talked to who also want to get a rhinoplasty done. It’s written so you can understand exactly how my day to day went, how I felt mentally and physically throughout the entire experience, and what I learned along the way. The whole point was to create this post to help people understand what they can expect from this procedure ahead of time. That way, if you’re about to go under the knife, it would be less scary because you’ll be mentally prepared for the next 6 weeks.

That being said, I know that was a lot of information, so I want to leave you with a few takeaways that I feel are the most important lessons from my recovery. 

Takeaway 1: The physical part of recovery is easy. 

It may surprise you when I say this, but recovery went much better than I thought it would in many ways, BUT it also was much worse than I thought it would be at the same time. When I went into this I was expecting so much physical pain and thought that I would even experience regret for putting myself through this. But it turns out that the recovery was MUCH harder mentally and emotionally than it was physically.

For 6 weeks, I felt like a zombie and wasn’t myself. I felt extremeley emotional and depressed during recovery and started to get upset with myself because I wasn’t getting a lot done professionally. I was cooped up and not doing much of anything because I couldn’t risk ruining my results. During that time I took notes on mainly physical things because that’s what I set out to capture, but I was shocked that the hardest part of this all was my mentality. Going through 6 weeks of recovery, seeing yourself bruised and swollen, not being able to go outside, not being able to move or behave normally, or even sleep normally made those 6 weeks feel like 12. To anyone interested in getting a rhinoplasty, be very aware that this process is challenging mentally and emotionally too. Make sure that you have TONS of support and are in a good headspace going into this procedure. 

Takeaway 2: You’ll need someone’s help! 

I can honestly say that I would have never ever ever been able to do this surgery alone. Matt took care of me every moment of every day for virtually 2 weeks straight. He washed my hair, he gave me my pills, he fed me, he helped me get comfortable, he cleaned my stitches, and he ran errands for me. If it wasn’t for Matt, I would have been screwed. I wouldn’t have been able to take care of myself if I had lived alone.

I know that many women are very adamant that they don’t need help after cosmetic surgery and even make the decision to be alone all week after a rhinoplasty. I have no idea how they would do that, and I don’t recommend that to anyone. But I will say that one of the best things that came out of this experience is that it brought Matt and I even closer together. We both felt that it helped us grow as a couple since one of us had to take care of the other. I remember that Matt seemed oddly happy at random times when he would be cleaning my stitches or helping me get comfortable and would express to me that he liked how intimate the experience was. It reminded me of what it was like moving in together for the first time and us being brought even closer together and knowing each other on a deeper level. 

Takeaway 3: The hardest part is not doing anything

The next takeaway that I want to stress is when recovering from this type of surgery, you have to be very committed to your healing by being super low-key. Which means you can’t do anything that could risk causing damage like putting a tight shirt over your head, going for a walk, leaning down to pick something out – but the biggest one… you can’t work out!

NEVER has my body ever felt more stiff and terrible in my life. I had knots so big that my calves would sometimes have a spasm. It was amazing just how quickly your body can go downhill in a few weeks of being bedridden. So to any ATHLETES out there wanting to get a nose job, listen up! There will be no CrossFit, no marathons, no races, no triathlons, no obstacle course, no bike rides, no hiking, not even walking. And even then, once you get through the initial 6 weeks, you still have to take it easy and not work out the way that you’re used to. I’ll admit, I’m a pretty lazy person and a natural home body, and I struggled with this the most. This part of the recovery is not something that you can slack on unless you want to have to get a revision rhinoplasty. 

Takeaway 4: Don’t close on a house 3 days after your surgery

In fact, don’t make any other big life changes that could distract you from your healing. Moving and getting surgery are stressful enough on their own, but to do them at the same time is a whole other beast. I wasn’t able to help out in lifting, moving, house projects, etc. Yet, all of that still had to get done, which meant that the things I could do I had to do very slowly and very carefully. The rest of it Matt had to take care of with the help of his dad and his best friend.

We also had an instance where someone (who shall remain nameless) took photos of him closing on the house without me being in them. I had so much anger and rage inside of me that I can’t even describe it to you. There also was the matter of dealing with a bathroom renovation and having to go pick out every detail in the store while still healing. That’s why I had so many days with Matt where I came home feeling sick and exhausted. I still had to be out on my feet all day making difficult decisions and going from store to store so that out bathroom could be completed on the weekend my recovery was coming to an end and we were moving into our new home.

I personally think that any additional stress you put on yourself at this time makes the recovery so much more difficult. So if you’re also getting a rhinoplasty, don’t schedule it before a big trip, before a big move or any other deadline. Avoid anything that will make you feel tense and anxious, including certain people or activities. Give yourself the freedom to heal in peace. You will be so happy that you did.

Thank you for coming to Lost Online!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and took something away from it that will either help you going into surgery or help you understand what people go through when recovering from a cosmetic procedure like this one. I want to talk about this experience as openly and honestly as possible so that cosmetic procedures don’t have to feel so taboo or secretive any more.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the next blogs in this series including my RESULTS and a Q&A from all of my readers, followers, and friends. If you have any questions yourself please reach out to me over email or Instagram @heather.ione and I will respond to you as fast as I can!

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

ANNOUNCEMENT: We got a dog!

Announcements

*Currently writing this blog post with one hand because a puppy is nibbling on the other!*

Yes, it finally happened! Matt and I are officially dog parents and I’m so happy to introduce our furbaby, Nova, to you!

It’s so crazy being here now. Back when Matt and I were dating in college, we used to always dream about our future together. We’d talk about how amazing it would be to have our own home, how we would decorate, how we would spend our weekends, and the trips we would take. But above all, we talked about how much we wanted a dog.

There was nothing in the world we wanted more than a four-legged fur baby that we could snuggle up with together. For as long as we’ve known each other we’ve been saving photos of different dog breeds and brainstorming names. Were we a bit obsessed? Maybe. But who cares. We’re DOG PEOPLE.

Anyways, we talked about this FOREVER and tried our best to ignore all the haters who tried to ruin our dream by sharing all of the reasons why we “shouldn’t get a dog.” (Side note: no one ever tells you that you shouldn’t have a baby. Why do we do this to each other when someone says they want a puppy?)

BUT, we knew that whenever the day came when we had our own yard, a puppy would be in our very near future. And here she is, our ferocious little puppy, Nova Rutski who is currently having what I call “the zoomies” and running back and forth across the living room as fast as she possibly can. Welcome to the family, Nova.

Puppy Motherhood

We got Nova when she was just 6 weeks old and weighed just 4.9 pounds! Annnddd, now I have to go pull her away from the molding she’s chewing on. 

Today, Nova is 12 weeks old and having her for just 6 weeks has already been such an experience. The first 2 weeks were the toughest. Matt and I were both pretty nervous. For the first time in our lives, we had another life to be responsible for! I mean I used to be a pet sitter and a nanny for a few years, but I would say goodbye at the end of the night or the end of the week when the parents and owners would come home. Instead, we are now responsible for another life for over a decade! And now I have to take Nova outside because I can tell she’s about to have an accident, brb.

So to be honest, as excited as we were, we were also very on edge. On top of that, Matt had to leave on a week-long work trip the day after we got her! Let me tell you, I got zero sleep that week.

But I didn’t care. Instantly, I loved her so much. I loved her puppy breath, her spots, how her eyes are different from each other. And most of all, I loved the… and I left her alone for one minute and she destroyed the zipper on her crate.

Whelp, I was going in a certain direction with this blog post today, but I guess it’s time to scratch that. I am writing this blog post in real-time while Nova is bouncing back and forth between being the sweetest and most cuddly puppy in the world, to being a literal monster. Nova is what Matt described as a real-life Sour Patch Kid – first she’s sour and then she’s sweet.

So I guess that’s the point that I’m trying to make with this blog post today. I love this little puppy more than anything, but she drives me insane. She makes me feel so loved and yet sometimes I think she’s intentionally destroying the things that I care about on purpose. I just want to sleep in, yet I’m thankful for getting to wake up early and take care of her.

Thank goodness, now she’s napping. 

There are holes from her teeth in my favorite $110 Lululemon yoga pants, but so much love in my heart. My favorite rugs are chewed up in the corners and we have to move them into the garage, but I have a smile on my face whenever I look at her. I can’t leave the house and go anywhere, yet I also don’t want to. 

THIS is puppy motherhood.

Despite the constant biting, and gnawing, and chewing, and holes in every piece of clothing or sock she can find, I’ve never been so relaxed, happy, and anxiety-free. Matt and I noticed that after just 3 weeks of having her, our stress and anxiety level dropped so much. We weren’t constantly in our own heads and worrying about something. It was like having this new little life to take care of brought us more clarity, focus, and peace of mind. The routine and responsibility that comes with taking care of someone else along with that feeling of unconditional love when your puppy is so excited that you just came home are amazing.

Oh crap, she wasn’t actually sleeping. Oh well, it’s her lunchtime anyways.

Back to writing… nope, I have to take her out again.

Ok, now back to writing. Awwww, she’s being so cute playing with her ball right now. The ball just went under the couch and she went after it. All you can see are her little paws sticking out. It kind of looks like when the witch from the Wizard of Oz got a house dropped on her.

Now she’s out from under the couch and chewing on the Christmas tree. I give up. Welcome to the family Nova, I love you. 

Thanks for coming to Lost Online

I hope you enjoyed this chaotic blog post about the newest member of our little family! You’ll be seeing SO much more of our little sour patch puppy in the future. Please send us a prayer that we survive Nova’s puppyhood and leave some of your puppy training knowledge in the comments below! We could use it!

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

Health is a Vehicle, NOT a Destination

Health & Wellness

Through my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I came across a quote from the school’s founder, Joshua Rosenthal, that has stuck with me ever since.

“Health is a vehicle, not a destination.”

I think this idea that Joshua has is so important to spread because today we live in a time where everyone is a know-it-all when it comes to health. You see articles and blogs every day that say things like “10 Steps to Better Health,” “45 Ways to Make Your Home Healthier,” “7 Superfoods to Add to Your Grocery List,” “5 Supplements to Take to Improve Your Health.” In reality, these people aren’t experts. Everyone is really just recommending their own specific formula of food, exercise, and supplementation that works for them. 

In all this confusion, new nutrition knowledge appears every year, new health products come onto the market, and new health advice is thrown into the mix. And here we are, just trying to make some sense out of it!

Plus with the thousands of content sources that show photoshopped images of fitness models, influencers, and bloggers out there it’s easy to get obsessed about what you need to do to be healthy. When you combine the crazy popularity of “lifestyle” articles and content in recent years, all of the nutrition confusion, and the constant barrage of ultra-toned models, there’s so much pressure to be “healthy.” Perfectly healthy, I might add.

But perfect health should not be the end goal. 

If you have any plans for the future – having kids, getting a new job, starting a business, getting married, traveling – you will need your health to get you there. But happiness and life fulfillment don’t fall into your lap once you walk through magical golden gates to the land of perfect health.

Health is very important, but we shouldn’t just stop there. Health is what allows us to be active in the world. However, the problem is that most people don’t think of health in this way. They don’t view their physical health as a vehicle to greater things in life. Instead, people tend to fall into one of two groups when it comes to how they approach their health and wellness.

Group One: Those who KNOW they need to make health a priority and don’t.

The first group of people that I’m going to talk about are the people who constantly say things like: 

  • “I should workout”
  • “I should eat better”
  • “I should take vitamins”
  • “I should go to the doctor”
  • “I should go to the dentist”
  • “I should drink more water”
  • “I should drink less alcohol”
  • “I should stop eating so much junk food”
  • “I should eat more fruits and veggies”

SHOULD is the keyword here.

These people aren’t completely happy with their bodies and constantly think about how they need to improve and what they “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing. Maybe they even feel guilty for it and it affects their self-confidence. 

This happens because while people understand what they have to do to improve their health, it’s another thing to actually do it. They get stuck in habits or stuck in a rut and can’t seem to pull themselves out of it. It can feel impossible to undo years worth of habits that were slowly created. So getting healthy again, losing weight, and changing nutrition feels as difficult as climbing Mount Everest.

This is not because some of these people are any weaker, but because they lack the motivation, accountability, and support that they need to make these changes. More importantly, they often lack the understanding of how to create small steps each week that will bring about the big results.

That’s why you can see people going all out for one week with healthy habits, and then dropping them as quickly as they started and falling back into old behaviors: fried chicken, excess alcohol, Netflix binging, smoking, junk food, etc. 

Group Two: Those who are constantly trying to be healthier and healthier.

Now group two is on the other side of the spectrum. These people are on a quest for perfect health! These people try to eat healthier, and healthier, and healthier, and healthier, and healthier!

I’m sure you know some of these people too:

  • The give up dairy, gluten, and soy
  • They might not drink
  • They swore off sugar and caffeine
  • They make smoothies and juices every morning
  • The go vegan
  • They take supplements
  • They constantly know random food facts
  • They buy organic
  • They only drink alternative milk

These people are going to die in perfect health if it’s the last thing they do. (Do you see the issue there?)

While these people are ultra health-conscious, this behavior isn’t much better. There’s a point where people can get too strict about being healthy to the point where it ruins the fun. Our food is incorporated so much into our primary foods like relationships, home environment, and joy, that it often holds people back by making their life less satisfying when they’re overly strict and concerned about diet.

This is why in recent years there’s been an entirely new eating disorder that came to light called orthorexia nervosa, which is characterized by an excessive preoccupation with eating healthy food.

Now, not everyone from group two is orthorexic! But, the point is that some people eat very healthy and are miserable. This way of thinking completely ignores the entire reason for being healthy in the first place. To think that there’s a correlation between perfect health and being happy is missing the entire point of why we take care of our physical body.

The goal isn’t to get perfectly healthy. You’re not suddenly going to be greeted by the Gods of Health as you’re making your smoothie in the morning to tell you that you’ve done everything right and you’re now part of a group of the elite, ultra-healthy people on the planet. Nor is life going to get better because you decided to be stricter with yourself by giving up sugar or gluten.

The Truth About Health

Not everyone falls into two specific groups like this, but many people do exist in these two groups – one of them ignoring their health and the other one being overly concerned about it. Neither one of these lifestyles is good for us. You can’t boycott healthy behavior because it seems difficult as much as you can’t swing the other way and let leading a “healthy” life control you. Both behaviors are UN-healthy.

Even if you’re at the 86th percentile of health, that’s wonderful! Work out several days a week and eat well 80% of the time, and you’re doing fantastic. Pat yourself on the back, because you’re doing a great job.

Health is extremely important but it’s not the end goal. Health a vehicle to everything else in life that you want: better relationships, financial freedom, happy memories, plenty of travel, a fulfilling career, and more. Health is what helps you get to all of those other places, it’s NOT the destination.

If you’re extremely sick and unhealthy if affects every single aspect of your life and puts a strain on you. If you’re overly strict about your diet, then it takes fun, joy, and spontaneity out of other areas of your life. However, if you’re in good health, it affects all of the other aspects of your life for the better!

You feel better, you look better, you can be more productive, you can have a fulfilling life, and you can feel well enough to work on your bucket list.

Think about it like this: Every day you get in your car and you drive to work, to the store, to coffee dates, to your chiropractor, etc. You’re in and out of your car all day long getting to your destination. And while you’re in your car, you don’t even think about your car! You’re thinking about other things, or where you’re going, or the rest of your day. Your mind is completely freed up while your vehicle effortlessly takes you to your destination.

Now, what if instead of your car effortlessly getting you to your destination, your tire popped or your engine wouldn’t start? What then?

You would be stuck! You wouldn’t be able to do anything that you set out to do that day, and all of your energy would be put toward dealing with your car so that you can get back to your intentions. 

Our health is just like that. Everything we do in life we do because our physical body is healthy, allowing us the freedom to do what we want. Once our health is taken away, we can’t do anything. We need our health for strength to get us to our true destinations.

By viewing our health as a vehicle to greater things in life, these two groups of people that millions of us exist in, can finally thrive and find a happy medium. They can learn to take care of their health–mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually–to achieve their goals and find their happiness.

Creating a Grassroots Movement 

However, this type of mentality is going to take a while to change, because as we all know, it’s going to come from doctors, or our government, or the food industry. It has to come from all of us, working together to better ourselves and supporting each other to do so.

No one is going to come to save us and force us to engage in healthy behavior. On top of that, we have companies making billions of dollars off of us being sick. One of my favorite quotes is by Wendell Berry and it illustrates this point perfectly:

“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.”

SO, we have to work together to make sure that we are taking the steps needed to live a happy and healthy life. Whether that’s by finally paying attention to our health OR by relaxing and not being overly strict with ourselves. 

How do we do this? By creating support, accountability, and motivation for each other.

Because not only do we have all of these additional challenges as I mentioned before, BUT health is often something that people have to deal with all on their own. Have you noticed that when you have a health concern, no one talks to you about it? No one monitors you or asks you how your health is, or if you’re ok, or if you need help. No one calls you up and asks you what your wellness goals are and supports you in that transition. No one checks in with you after making a new year’s resolution to see how you’re doing getting back to the gym or cutting out junk food.

That’s the problem! Health is such a private issue that we don’t talk about it and don’t receive any help with it. Yet we ALL struggle with it one way or another!

This needs to be changed above anything. We all need to find someone to talk to about our health concerns and keep us accountable to engage in healthy behavior. We shouldn’t be working at it completely alone. We’ve been doing that for years, and it hasn’t helped!

By doing this (one relationship at a time), it will create a grassroots movement around the world and slowly change the way we look at health and our entire food industry and health care system. It has the potential to change the world and put a stop to this global health crisis that we’re in. But only if enough of us do it.

How do we create a grassroots movement?

We can create this grassroots movement together, simply by connecting and making our health a priority together. Here’s how:

1. Health and Accountability Coaching

The first thing that I recommend is working with a holistic health and accountability coach like me.

It’s incredible how having one person there as your cheerleader and accountability buddy gives you the push to finally make the changes you’ve been talking about for so long. Because while many people know what they should be doing for their health and wellbeing, they are often overwhelmed by the amount of change they need to create in their lives and need assistance and accountability in implementing small lifestyle changes (one at a time) – that’s where I come in.

As a holistic health coach, I take a full-body approach to health and wellness. I understand that every single aspect of our lives nurtures us, from the food on our plates, to our finances and relationships, to the amount of joy we have in our lives. If even one aspect of our lives is out of whack, we’re off balance and unable to be our best selves. 

I provide that one-on-one connection, support, and encouragement that you need in meeting your personal wellness goals. I also guide you on how to gradually implement new habits so that they are sustainable. 

BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION WITH ME.

2. Accountability buddies 

The second way we can create a grassroots movement and improve health globally by working with an accountability buddy. As I mentioned above, one of the major flaws in the way we look at health is that it’s viewed as a private issue and that people are left to struggle with their health goals and alignments without any help. Eventually, they have no choice but to turn to doctors who only prescribe pills, ignore the root cause of the health concern, and look at the human body as separate parts.

A holistic health coach does help with this tremendously. Honestly, having a coach in any aspect of your life is highly beneficial. However, it’s important to have other people in your life act as your cheerleaders, support system and accountability buddies too. Because we shouldn’t always have to always pay for support, right? We want to create several personal relationships that fulfill us and push us to be better.

The more you can expand your network with health-minded people who want to help each other, the better you will feel and the faster you will see improvements in your life. For example, I have my own health coach, but I also have an accountability buddy for my nutrition school homework who is also an herbalist and DoTerra advocate. We help each other with school and she’s helping me heal my leaky gut. 

But this doesn’t just go for health too, it’s the same for every single aspect of our lives. For example, I have a business coach who has helped me in so many ways. On top of that, I’m also in a business-centered book club and support group with other young, female entrepreneurs. I also have a friend who is my business accountability buddy! We now call each other every morning, Monday-Friday at 9 a.m. to share what our intentions and affirmations are for the day. Additionally, I now attend networking events around my area.

If we really want to improve ourselves and our communities, we can’t do it alone. Period. We must expand our network as much as possible and find people that we trust to provide us that one-on-one support and accountability. Talking with several people about your health is going to be much more helpful.

3. Support groups 

The next way we can change our mindset about health and create this grassroots movement is by setting up or attending support groups as I mentioned in the last point. It doesn’t matter what your health goals or concerns are, there’s a support group for that! If you’re struggling with a health concern, there’s a conference about it, a Facebook page about it, or a support group for it! And if you’re looking to improve your health in any way, there are tons of groups for it. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to lose weight, train for a marathon, quit drinking, practice yoga, etc. – There is a group for that!

A half an hour spent searching through all the Facebook groups in St. Petersburg, Fla., and I found several group dinners that people hold, vegan potlucks, running groups, and yoga meetups. Another half an hour scan on Eventbrite and I found tons of spiritual events, special interest and hobby groups, health and wellness-based workshops and more.

This is where you will find that support that you’re looking for, and by the way, they won’t always be labeled as “support groups.” The support group I’m in is called a “book club,” and honestly we hardly ever bring up the book! We spend the entire time venting, brainstorming, and helping each other.

Get out of your comfort zone and attend groups like this in your area, because that’s where you’re going to connect with people who have similar interests as you and form those strong bonds with each other. And if you can’t find one, make one.

Recently, I found myself being bummed out that I didn’t have people to talk about the Law of Attraction with and it’s such a big part of my life. I wished I could sit down and talk about it in-depth, but where the hell do you find a group that meets up and spends hours talking about manifestation? So, I made one. I made an event that’s being held in January called the Manifestation Meetup, and I plan on holding it once a month in the new year to bring people together who are interested in this topic. 

4. Wellness events 

The last piece of advice that I believe we can use to change our mindset about health and improve this global health crisis is by putting on and attending wellness events. This one is similar to the support groups, but not as intimate. This is on a larger scale.

By creating and attending large wellness events we can raise consciousness and spread the message of holistic health and balanced living on a larger scale. And possibly, spread this message with people wouldn’t typically hear about it.

What better way to create a grassroots movement than by getting thousands of people together to talk about holistic health and wellness, share stories, share products, and exchange information? 

Thanks for Coming to Lost Online!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post about how health is a vehicle, not a destination and how we can create a grassroots movement to change our individual health, and understanding of health and wellness on a larger scale. 

These steps I shared with you will help all of us to vocalize our health concerns, our stumbling blocks, and wellness goals. And that freedom to finally talk to people openly about our health is what’s going to create that accountability and support needed to make lifestyle changes for real

I encourage you to get out of your bubble (starting right now, in this new year and new decade) and understand that you do not have to be alone when it comes to your health and wellness journey. 

DON’T stay stuck in those two groups I talked about! Set up a free health history consultation with me to talk about your goals and concerns, seek out accountability buddies, and attend local groups or wellness events to expand your network and find people who will push to be better.

BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION WITH ME.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments! Do you fall into group one or group two when it comes to your lifestyle behaviors? Why do you think that is? Have you viewed health as a destination up until this point? Do you agree that health is a vehicle? How else can we create a grassroots movement to change our behavior and misunderstandings about health?

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

Why Your Resolutions Haven’t Worked… Until Now + My New Year’s Resolution! I Dub 2020 “The Year of Fun”

Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Self-Help

It’s that time of year again!

2019 flew by and now it’s 2020! And I can’t freaking wait! In my opinion, New Year’s is the most wonderful time of year, not Christmas. If you’re a self-improvement junkie like me, then you might feel the same way too.

I’m super obsessed with self-improvement and I’m a very introspective person. In a past life, I bet I was a philosopher or a therapist or something along those lines. So I live for this time of year when the whole country is in that frame of mind too! I love the reflection of the past year, the goal setting, the discussions about resolutions, the vision board creation, the crisp pages of a brand new planner. Ugh, I’m such a dork. (Oh well. We’ve already established that by now.)

Anyways, I LOVE New Year’s. And I love that this is a time where YOU are also in that frame of mind that I’m in 365 days a year! Right now, you’re thinking about your own goals and resolutions, you’re reflecting on you the past year, and you’re visualizing the person you want to become in 2020. Oh, how that makes me smile!

BUT, even though those goals and the promise of a fresh start are in the front of your mind, there’s that pesky little doubt in your mind that keeps floating around to irritate you just when you’re really starting to have a good time. Like a gnat that keeps flying around your face. You know that one I’m talking about:

“New Year’s resolutions NEVER work.”

Well, to be perfectly honest (and it pains me to say this) most of them don’t. Most resolutions are lucky to make it until February, let alone stick until the end of the year or turn into a healthy habit you keep going throughout your life! BUT that’s not the resolutions fault!!!

What I’m noticing in my conversations with people about resolutions is very sad for a personal coach and self-help writer like myself. I’m noticing that almost everyone I talk to tells me that they are NOT setting a resolution this year because “New Year’s resolutions NEVER work.”

Yes, your resolution may have fizzled out before, but that doesn’t mean we should STOP trying to better ourselves guys!!! 

Come on here!

You’re telling me that you’re not even going to try to lose that extra weight because you couldn’t last year?! You’re not going to try to read one book because you didn’t finish a book in 2019?! You’re telling me that you’re not going to ease up on drinking because you were unsuccessful before?! You’re saying that you’re not even going to attempt to give up smoking because it hasn’t worked previously?!

That automatic willingness and contentment people have with giving up on themselves makes my entire being CRINGE. 

If you only take one piece of advice from my entire blog, I want it to be this: Don’t give up on bettering yourself. EVER. And especially don’t give up on yourself because a prior resolution didn’t work for you.

It’s not that resolutions don’t work or are impossible to follow through! They didn’t work because you didn’t have the TOOLS that you needed to be successful. You walked into the New Year WITHOUT any action steps, or a plan, or accountability and you woke up on the other side of the New Year with a hangover and relied solely on limited motivation and willpower to take the next 365 days by storm.

So if this is you, every 1st of the year, deciding that “New Year’s resolutions NEVER work,” this post is going to help you get over that and understand how it IS possible to make them last. AND, if you’re someone sitting here super pumped to start your resolutions, then this post is also going to be great for you!

In this blog post, I will help you accomplish your resolutions FOR REAL. Here are the TOP 5 reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail AND 5 ways to help them STICK in 2020.

The Top 5 Problems with New Year’s Resolutions & Why They ALWAYS Fail

So now, let’s get to the good stuff. Why do resolutions always fail?! Well, I promise it’s not because they are doomed to fail and setting annual goals to improve your life is pointless. It’s because of these 5, very avoidable mistakes that WE make – the resolution doesn’t make it for us!

1. Many resolutions are WAY too big.

I have no idea how many people actually accomplish the resolutions they set out to do at the beginning of the year, but I’m pretty damn sure that it’s next to 0%. This is partially because of what I talked about in the blog post, “The Broken Window Theory & How to Create Massive Change in Your Life.”

In all of our excitement to improve ourselves and the high that we get from the possibility of a “fresh start” and becoming our fantasy selves, we try to do too much at once. When we do that, we set ourselves up for failure. We create sweeping declarations, announcements, and to-do lists of all the things we SAY we want to do, and then don’t actually do them. It’s like we psych ourselves out and eventually, we don’t get anything done. It’s actually one of the ways that I self-sabotage. I create massive lists and expectations for things that I have to do and set the bar so damn high that I’ve already made it difficult to accomplish those things before I have even started.

If you’ll remember, for 2019 I came up with over 20 New Year’s Resolutions. I’m pretty sure it was 24. How Vata of me! I got caught up in the excitement of a new year, a new job, a new city, and a new apartment! There were so many changes at the start of 2019 that I thought I would leave this year being a changed woman. That it was going to be my best year yet. And that by the end of these last 12 months, I would emerge a completely transformed person with a hefty list of tasks checked off. That didn’t happen. I bit off more than I could chew, and in the end, nothing got done.

That’s what many of us self-improvement junkies do. We list off every single life-long dream or every single aspect of our lives that we want to improve and expect ourselves to get it done by the first of the year! That’s mistake #1. So remember this as you’re writing down this year’s resolutions. (Note to self, Heather.)

2. They aren’t goals you’re ACTUALLY interested in doing.

You might be reading this bullet point thinking, “Of course I want to do these things! What do you mean I’m not interested in doing them?!”

But here’s the thing, many people (myself included) set goals for themselves that they have no real interest in doing. Why? Because there’s such a thing as your REAL SELF and your FANTASY SELF. Your real self is you. The real you and your real personality. The fantasy self is how you WISH you were. I’m not talking about the version of yourself you hope to become or your life-long goals. I’m talking about the things you wish you could alter about your personality or desires, but can’t.

For example, I’m an introvert but my fantasy self is an extrovert. I HATE cooking, but my fantasy self cooks all the time, meal preps, hosts Thanksgiving dinner, and throws parties with FABULOUS food that I made myself. My real self enjoys exercising alone at the gym but my fantasy self does CrossFit and competes in CrossFit competitions. The real me likes to go to yoga sometimes, the fantasy me is an actual yogi who can do every single ridiculous yoga pose known to man. See what I mean? I don’t actually want to do those things and those things about me are not going to change.

In past years, I have made resolutions that are representative of my fantasy self, but I have absolutely NO DESIRE to make those things happen. I love the IDEA of them, but I don’t actually want to do it. By letting your fantasy self creep into your resolutions, you can guarantee they are going to fail. 

3. Resolutions are often way too vague.

Another pattern I see over and over again, is people saying “I want to lose weight,” “I want to get in shape,” “I want to eat better,” “I want to do yoga more,” or “I want to focus on my business.” Those are great things to want for yourself, but if that’s the final copy of your New Year’s resolution…again it’s not going to work.

What does “I want to lose weight” mean? What does “I want to do more yoga” mean? By saying you want to do something MORE, I can say for certain that you’re not going to end up following through. In order to create resolutions that stick, you have you to make them specific. How much weight do you want to lose? How often do you want to practice yoga? What does “being in shape” look like to you? HOW are you going to focus on your business? What will that look like?

Otherwise, you’ll be walking into the new year without even understanding how you will accomplish your resolution and fit it into your life. You’re just banking on the fact that you’ll probably be motivated in the new year to follow through and be motivated all of the sudden.

4. Some resolutions can make you feel bad about yourself.

Another mistake that people make when they set resolutions for themselves is that they create a resolution that makes them feel terrible about themselves and remind themselves of their “flaws.”

Sometimes we unknowingly create resolutions that remind us of what we hate about ourselves RATHER than what we can realistically improve upon and creating goals that excite us. When you create a resolution like this, you are automatically going into 2020 thinking horrible thoughts about yourself and feeling crappy just for being YOU.

Here’s a perfect example: When I was in high school, “thigh gaps” were all the rage. Every magazine I read and every photo I saw with a beautiful girl in it, had a very distinct “thigh gap.” The thigh gap was SEXY, and I did not have one. I wasn’t the only one who felt bad about this though. I even watched TV specials where women were getting “lunchtime lipo” – a quick 20-minute liposuction procedure on the inner thigh to make your thighs look skinnier. So one of my New Year’s resolutions, back when I was in high school, was to shrink my thighs. If I remember correctly, I was trying to get 2 inches off of each one. It was incredibly unhealthy.

I SHOULD have focused on my health and cared about building a strong, healthy, happy body. But instead, I went into the year with a measuring tape and a horrible inner monologue about my body. I never did work out consistently, I never focused on my diet, I never established other healthy routines. All I did was think about how disgusted I was with this part of my body and how it didn’t match what the media was telling me I was supposed to look like.

People do this A LOT with weight loss resolutions. They focus on “losing 30 pounds”, “40 pounds,” “50 pounds,” rather than getting STRONGER, healthier, more flexible, and more confident. But those things are what you should be focusing on. When you say “My New Year’s resolution is to have a six-pack,” how do you think that’s going to go for you? Poorly. It’s not going to happen because you’re going to be focusing on how much you hate your body now and want it to change it. You’re starting the new year with nothing but bad intentions and gnarly self-talk that is going to be VERY hard to overcome.

Point being, there’s a fine line between a resolution that will HELP you and a resolution that will make you feel shitty about yourself.

5. We don’t have help OR a plan

The last reason why New Year’s resolutions often don’t succeed is that we don’t have help or establish a plan. Many of us say that we want to accomplish something without figuring out HOW we will get there. For example, let’s say that your resolution is to get in shape. If you don’t get a gym membership, don’t figure out healthy recipes you can make at home, don’t have an accountability partner or health coach, don’t have running shoes, and don’t know what to do to workout do you think you could do it? Nope. You’re going to stick with your same habits and routine.

I was just talking with someone who told me that her resolution was to lose weight and get in shape. To which I responded, “How do you plan on doing that?” “I don’t know,” she said. Let me tell you, “I don’t know,” is not going to keep you on track for the next 365 days. 

I see this again and again with people who create any resolution, but especially health resolutions. It’s simple, if you don’t have a PLAN to make that resolution happen, you will NOT do it. Without a plan, you’re just hoping a surge of inspiration and motivation will SLAP you across the face every morning. You’re hoping that you’ll have enough willpower to avoid the fried chicken or donuts or red wine. You’re hoping that you’ll FEEL like going to the gym. You’re hoping that you will WANT to do yoga every day. You’re hoping that you will be IN THE MOOD to mediate and read each night instead of watching Netflix. But you won’t. I promise. Without a plan, it’s all just talk.

Additionally, without help, it’s all just talk. Because even if you create a plan for yourself and figure out HOW you’re going to follow through with these things this year, you will need SUPPORT. Every single person has shitty days and needs encouragement; every single person needs someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of; every single person needs community and positive relationships. The reason why so many resolutions fail is not that resolutions are doomed. It’s because people don’t have a plan to make them happen or someone to keep them accountable and support them.

How to Set Reasonable & Accomplishable Resolutions 

So now that we’ve talked about the top 5 mistakes that people make when creating their New Year’s resolutions, let’s get you past them! I put together a list of 5 tips that you can use to help you set reasonable and accomplishable resolutions in 2020. If you take these 5 pieces of advice, you’re in a MUCH better position to make your goals a reality this year. This is how you set yourself up for success:

STEP 1: Reflect on the last year 

Now before you get excited and frantically write down your goals for the new year, it’s extremely important to reflect on the previous year. It doesn’t make sense to jump ahead to the next year without taking a moment to reflect on the last 365 days FIRST. You spent so much time and effort thinking about 2019, setting goals, visualizing the new year, it doesn’t make sense to move on right away and pretend like it didn’t happen. A LOT happened last year in your life and I think it’s super important to honor that and take AT LEAST an hour to reflect on how that year was for you. A whole year went by! There were so many accomplishments, pitfalls, travels, memories, relationships. There was so much growth, so much progress, so much heartache, so much drama, so much love, so much happiness that happened in that entire year! Take the time to sit down and really reflect on how 2019 went for you. Honor the last YEAR of your life! How was it? Did it go well? Were you happy? Did you do what you wanted to do? Were you your best self? Were you NICE to people?

And trust me, if you’re REALLY NOT wanting to reflect on the last year, it means that you REALLY DO have to reflect on the last year. Even if 2019 was kind of a nightmare, it’s important that you take the time to think about it. Don’t pretend like that year of your life didn’t exist.

Example: My Journaling Tradition

My new tradition each year is to sit down and journal about the previous year. I answer several different journal prompts that get me thinking about the year that I just had, what I learned from it, and what I want to take into the next year. These New Year’s reflections were published on my blog, so feel free to go back and read them to get inspiration for what prompts you want to answer too. It’s a super easy and fun tradition AND you can do it with other people which I love! Last year Matt and I went to a New Year’s Reflections Meetup and did these prompts together which we both really enjoyed. Check out those previous blogs to get some ideas and see if some of the prompts resonate with you. If you need any additional New Years’ prompts, Pinterest is filled with them!

Reflecting on 2019: 13 Journal Prompts & My Answers

Reflecting on 2018: 13 Journal Prompts & My Answers

STEP 2: Pick a theme or a word for the year

The next step is to choose a theme, word, or phrase for the coming year. Or maybe 1-3 words if you’re really feeling inspired. Many people actually prefer choosing a word or a theme more than resolutions because it’s not as intimidating. A lot of times, one word is much easier to stick to than a list because it’s easy to remember AND it allows you to be flexible with your “resolution.”

As long as you remind yourself of that word or theme, you’ll be far more likely to stick to it. Choosing a word for the year has the same benefits as choosing an affirmation or intention for the day. It’s an extra measure that will help you to create a single-pointed focus. This word or words helps you guide the decisions and choices you make and how you spend your time. It also keeps you motivated and prevents you from getting distracted by whatever comes up by making sure that what how you’re spending your time is in alignment.

I recommend putting this word around your house, on your corkboard, in your planner, on your phone, or in decorations. Having a single word or phrase AND having a visual reminder of it will help you to remember it, stay inspired, and stay on track. Some examples of words, phrases, or themes that people choose for the New Year are conscious, family, intentional, slow down, thoughtful, deliberate, create, meditate, celebrate, listen, progress, possibility, today, consistency, or gratitude. 

If you still want to create goals and resolutions like me, you can then use this word or theme to create goals that align with it. This step will further set you up for success.

Example: My New Year’s Theme? To Have Fun!

This year, I’ve decided my theme for 2020 will be the year of fun. Well, not just the year of fun. I’ve decided that it would be the year of fun, financial abundance, and professional growth.

I was so focused on professional growth and stressing out about money last year that I didn’t have any fun at all. I was deeply terrified of failure and stuck in my limiting beliefs that I didn’t think AT ALL about relaxing and having fun. I was in a constant state of stress because all I cared about or could think about was, “What if I don’t make it?”

I poured every ounce of my emotion and mental energy into my blog and the worries that I had about it that I made myself miserable. But recently I had an epiphany…

Yes, I still want to be a personal coach, an author, a blogger, and podcaster – BUT I don’t want those things at the expense of my own happiness.

So yes, as a young woman starting a business for the first time ever, I am still going to make professional growth and finances a priority, BUT I will make sure that I have fun doing it. I’m not going to throw away 365 days of being happy to publish some ebooks, take on clients, and starting a podcast.

Accomplishing my goals and dreams means nothing if I’m making myself feel like crap to do it.

The second reason why I dub this the year of fun is because 2019 was a very hard year for me. Like I talked about in my blog post “Announcement: I’m Seeing a Therapist + How I Discovered I Had Depression & Why I’m Thankful For It,” a lot happened that weighed on my mind and made me extremely unhappy.

I was very depressed in 2019 and went through a series of ruts that lasted far longer than any I’ve ever experienced. I also spent most of the year working from home on my blog and leading a very isolated life. Luckily, I am now on the OTHER SIDE! I have a coach, I have a community, I have a home office, I have events and meetups that get me out of the house, and I’m MUCH happier than I have been in years. But 2019 was still very emotional and very sad for me and I want to make up for all that. For this reason, I dub 2020 the year of FUN!

I’m going to make this year as fun and exciting as possible. I’m making it a point to fill this year with fun and happiness as much as I possibly can. To go to concerts, to try new things, to get out of town for the weekend, to attend networking events, and to have date nights (that aren’t just going out to the same taco shop we’ve gone to 101 times). To truly make an effort to focus on my own happiness and not let it take a back seat to my goals.

STEP 3: Write out your goals and action plans 

After coming up with a theme, write down your specific goals for the year AND your action plan. The biggest mistake that we make over and over is setting a goal for ourselves WITHOUT any planning or preparation whatsoever. But changing the automatic habits that you’ve had for YEARS is not going to work if you just say “I want to lose 50 pounds” without figuring out the HOW of it all.

Figuring out how is what makes the difference between a dreamer and a DO-ER.

For example, I can think of a few people who have told me over and over again, “I want to do a triathlon.” They don’t have the equipment, they don’t have a bike, they don’t have a training schedule, they don’t ever sign up for one. So guess what? It never happens. A dream is just that – a dream. A dream with a PLAN is a goal. (An achievable goal for that matter.)

So as you’re writing down you’re resolutions this year, write down the ACTION PLANS too. How are you going to do that thing you want to do? Do you want to get in shape? Write down at least 6 action plans right now. Make sure they are things that you can actually commit to. Do this with every single goal or resolution that you have, not just at the beginning of the year, but all year long. Make it a point to create your action plans and put them in writing. 

Example: My Action Plan – The Yes Man Month

So as you know, my resolution is to have fun WHILE focusing on finances and my new business. So how do I plan on doing this? 

To do this, I am having an entire “Yes Man Month” inspired by the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey. In my Yes Man Month I will say yes to one thing each day that is going to put me WAY out of my comfort zone or something that I always SAY that I want to do, but DON’T.

I decided to make this my action plan this year because whenever I make myself go outside of my comfort zone, it brings me more satisfaction and happiness than anything in the world (well, aside from my blog and business).

Whenever I try something that I’ve never done before, I LOVE it. It stimulates my mind, it gives me something new to talk about, it teaches me something that I’ve never known before, and it helps me to meet people. It makes me happier than anything. Whenever I step outside of my comfort zone or finally do something that I fantasize about doing but never actually invest the time and energy into doing, I feel like a whole new person.

In this “Yes Man Month” I will be carefully crafting an entire month of activities for myself to do that are all designed to be something that I would NEVER do. Things that literally terrify me, make me uncomfortable, or just “aren’t my thing.” Of course, I’ll be documenting this experience and share it with you when it’s complete.

The next action plans that I have for making the resolution my reality include doing something fun with Matt every single week, taking more weekend trips, and attending one event, group or coffee date every week. I have a solid plan to incorporate my resolution into my life each week AND best of all, they are steps that are easy and I actually WANT to do. 

STEP 4: Make sure you actually want to do the things you say you do

Like I said previously when I was talking about why resolutions typically fail – one of the top reasons is because the resolutions we make are sometimes not what we want to or are willing to do. They are reflective of that fantasy self you have in your head that is perfect in every way, is motivated all the time, and does things your real self has no desire to do. So step number 4, before you commit to anything is to make sure that you really do want to do these things you say you do. Because if you feel any sort of dread towards one of your goals this year, you will not do them.

Now, I’m not talking about the fact that you may deeply desire to be healthy and in shape but you don’t feel like going to the gym one day. I’m talking about saying that your goal this year is to run a marathon when running makes every single ounce of your being want to drop dead. The real you hates running more than anything on the face of the earth but the fantasy self in your head – the imaginary person you wish you could be – runs marathons. Make absolutely sure that your fantasy self is NOT the one setting your goals and resolutions this year. Make sure that everything on that list is what you want to do, not something you think you should want to do.

Example: My 2020 Goals & Book List

Last year, I did not do a fabulous job at this. I hadn’t quite learned the difference between the real Heather and her personality and desires and the fantasy Heather. At the beginning of 2019, I was in a place where I was very focused on spirituality. I was in a tough place emotionally because I was constantly trying to decide if I was REALLY going to take a leap, quit my job, blog full-time, and start studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. So I really needed spirituality in my life to guide me and let me know that I was safe and it was all going to be ok.

Every single moment of content that I absorbed for several months was either about yoga, meditation, or new age spirituality. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still obsessed with all those things. However, at this stage of my life, I was soaking up this content at an abnormal rate and started to really admire the yogi and the spiritual leaders that I listened to. So day by day, a new fantasy Heather has started to emerge and at the end of 2018, that version of me wrote my New Year’s resolutions. I wanted to do yoga every day; I wanted to be able to do a split and all of these other crazy difficult poses; I wanted to oil pull each day; I wanted to volunteer my time so that I could become more selfless; I wanted to practice acro-yoga every weekend and get CRAZY Instagram influencer level good at it. But then, everything changed. I got out of that stage of my life, quit my job, and went off on my own. Before I knew it, I didn’t need the constant spiritual content to keep me calm, and slowly that fantasy Heather disappeared, and I was left with a list of resolutions that the real me had no DESIRE to actually do. 

This year, the REAL Heather wrote my resolutions and my 2020 book list. My goals are only the things that the real me is dying to accomplish and already thinks about constantly. Things like writing ebooks, a physical book, creating a podcast, and launching my coaching business. Every goal I set and every book I said I wanted to read, I’m crazy excited to do. There’s nothing on there that I’m dreading. Take a look for yourself at my 2020 goals and book list. 

STEP 5: Establish accountability partners, coaches, and groups that will help you

The main flaw that I see in our society when it comes to the way we view health, self-improvement, and personal goals is that we think these are things that should be done in private. We are alone in our efforts to better ourselves. No one asks us about our personal goals, no one asks us how we’re doing accomplishing them, no one asks us how our health concerns are going, and we don’t ask them either. We set goals for ourselves but they’re always kept private. Wouldn’t it be “awkward” or “impolite” to talk about them?

Which means that when we want to meditate every day, journal every week, start a podcast, lose weight, write a book, lower cholesterol, run a 10k, quit sugar, build a piece of furniture, go vegan, build a tiny house, or anything else – no one is there to encourage us and keep us going. The only person we have to share our ups and downs with and keep us motivated and accountable is OURSELVES. But when we do that, the chances of success are chopped in half.

We are social creatures and we all need help, guidance, motivation, and inspiration from each other. So the last step before you can take this new year and new decade by storm is to not only figure out your goals and actions plans but to find PEOPLE to support you and act as your accountability partners. I’m not talking about “followers” or “online communities.” I’m talking about real, living breathing, in your face, with-an-actual-body people. People that you can open up to, cry to, or vent to. People that you can talk to about an aspect of your life that you deeply want to improve but are struggling with. This could be a friend, or someone you met at a networking event, or a group that meets regularly, or a personal coach like myself. Whatever it looks like, find someone who is working on the same thing as you and make them your accountability buddy.

Bonus tip: This usually works better if you’re not SUPER close to the person like a parent or spouse. Having someone who you’re close with but isn’t an immediate friend or family is going to have a much better outcome. By choosing someone you’re super close to, you might be less inclined to follow through because you don’t feel as if you have to follow through because they will “understand” if you don’t. But, everyone is different, so you may be one of the lucky few who can be successful with a parent or spouse. It doesn’t matter what this relationship looks like as long as it works for you and helps to keep you accountable.

Look back at your goals and your action plans and think about who would make a good accountability buddy for them. And if you honestly can’t think of anyone because your network is very small, then hire a coach or start networking in your area. I PROMISE you there are people just like you who have similar goals and are dying for support too.

Example: My Own Transformation

I know how powerful accountability partners are because none of my personal goals started to come to life until I hired a business coach and joined a business and self-improvement focused book club (which is so much fun it literally feels like a slumber party whenever we meet up). In the TWO MONTHS I’ve had these women in my life I started writing a book, planned an event, finally declared to the world that I am a health coach, creating marketing materials, started an ebook, finished a new page on my website, established my pricing for my coaching service programs, started pitching myself to brands, started doing reach outs, and more. I am living proof that this works! It’s only been two months and I’m astounded by the progress I’ve made just from having people to talk to, or ask for advice, or brainstorm with, or even just cheer me on. Now imagine what an entire 365 days of putting this into practice will turn into! Those projects I’ve started and the goals that I set for myself will be completed. And yours will too.

Remember, every single one of us needs help! Every single one of us needs support! Do not ever, under any circumstances, feel guilty or weak or ashamed that you need help in any aspect of your life. If you take this advice to heart and find your accountability partner (even if it’s someone you hire) you will be FAR more productive and successful in this New Year.

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

As always, thank you so much for coming to Lost Online! I really hope that this blog post has convinced you that New Year’s resolutions CAN work. To have a successful New Year, all you have to understand are what top 5 mistakes to avoid when setting your goals and follow my 5 steps to creating reasonable and accomplishable resolutions. Becoming the most productive, successful, happy version of yourself is just around the corner if you go about your goal setting with thoughtfulness and intention.

Before you head out, let me know what you think in the comments! Are you someone who has historically take the perspective of “New Year’s resolutions NEVER work?” If so, was I able to make you more hopeful about them? OR are you someone who’s a self-improvement junkie who lives for goals and resolutions? Whichever group you’re in, what is your word or theme for the year? What are your resolutions or goals for 2020? What are your action steps? Are you 100% you’re willing and excited to do these things this year? And who are you’re accountability partners? I would LOVE to hear from you!

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online! 

Photo by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

Reflecting on 2019: 13 Journal Prompts and My Answers

Self-Help

If you’ve been a reader of mine since last year, then you’ll probably remember that I published a blog called “Reflecting on 2018: 13 Journal Prompts and My Answers.” It was a pivotal moment for me because that was the very first blog post that I ever created with my friend, photographer, and editor Ray Reyes. 

At the time, I was dealing with some major confusion in my life. I knew that more than anything in the world that I wanted to be a blogger, YouTuber, podcaster, writer, and business owner. BUT, I was in the 9-5 grind. I was unhappy and constantly wondering if I should really take the leap and spend the first year of my life out of college creating a foundation for my wildest dreams.

It was a very scary, stressful, and confusing time. But finally having Ray there to talk and to work with is what gave me the courage that I needed to start becoming the person I wanted to be. That was the very first blog post that we shot together. A year later, we’ve now created and published over 40 blog posts together!

I can’t help but reflect on this time last year. Not only was it the start of a wonderful friendship, but the start of a new year, and the start of my adult life after graduation and moving out of my parents’ house. So much has happened between now and then. So I wanted to do another New Years’ reflection post! I originally started writing these journal prompts just for myself, but I thought it would be a nice Lost Online tradition to publish a blog about my 2019 reflections since then.

So here it is! One year later. This is me Reflecting on 2019: 13 Journal Prompts and My Answers!

Make sure to get out a journal and reflect on your answers for this past year too! It’s such a fun tradition that helps you remember all of the growth that happened, set you up for a positive and productive new year, and think about which areas of your life you want to work on.

2019 was the year of…

Transformation. At the start of the year, I said that 2019 will be the year of creativity. I was in a place where all I wanted to do was make blog posts, take photos, and make online content. I also was really immersing myself in spirituality. In my free time, I was immersed in ayurveda, yoga, meditation, etc. But after the first month or two of 2019, my attention shifted. Sure the blogging and content creation was fun, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to create ebooks, and coach people one-on-one, and hold events. Slowly my attention shifted towards that. I decided that I didn’t just want to be a blogger, but a full-blown business owner. I wanted to lay the foundation for myself for a successful career in the health and wellness industry.

But the reason why I say that it ended up being the year of transformation was because so many things fell apart in 2019 and eventually new opportunities started to come together. Everything from my health, my job, my family life, my relationships, and my confidence was turned upside down. Everything seemed to go wrong and I became very, very depressed. I even decided to start seeing a therapist.

BUT, just after things started to fall apart, better things started to come into fruition. I became very business-focused and stopped pigeon-holing myself as just a blogger; I made connections with friends that light me up more than anything in the world; I started to get more motivated and see my mental state change. Everything was turned upside down, but if it wasn’t for all of that happening, I wouldn’t be HERE right now. I wouldn’t be launching my own business in the new year and FINALLY monetizing my passions.

What went well for me?

  • I got to work with an amazing photographer every week to take the most beautiful and creative photos for Lost Online Blog.
  • I had enough financial freedom to leave my job and pursue my dream.
  • I published over 40 blog posts, some of which deeply resonated with people and helped them.
  • I hit my first 100 blog subscribers.
  • I created a YouTube Channel.
  • I had wonderful one-on-one time with my grandma when I went to visit her. 
  • I started seeing a therapist for the first time in my life who has provided a safe space for me to open up about relationships and past traumas.
  • I found an herbalist and DoTerra Wellness Advocate who has supported me through several health concerns.
  • I finally got the rhinoplasty surgery I’ve been wanting for years and I finally feel comfortable when I look in a mirror.
  • I went on several trips including Zion National Park, Savannah, San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Niagara Falls.
  • I found a business coach which DRASTICALLY helped my mentality and productivity.
  • I finally started creating newsletters.
  • I ended up connecting with women who I love being around and now I’m finally starting to feel like I have support and community.
  • We bought the perfect little house for us.
  • We got a puppy!
  • I got over my fear-based mentality and self-sabotage and am finally launching my business.
  • I learned how to better manage my time.
  • I published several interviews that I’m proud of.
  • I started to build my email list.
  • I joined a book club which I’ve been wanting to do for years.  
  • I started to feel as if I have a community and a tribe of people who are actually interested in the same things as me like wellness, self-help, and self-development.

What did not go well for me?

  • My health and digestive problems got worse.
  • My dad and I lost our jobs on the same day.
  • My family was struggling for months dealing with the job loss and financial worries. 
  • I became super depressed, more than I have been in years.
  • I was in a new city with no friends and felt very alone until November.
  • I was isolating myself and staying home all day which made it harder.
  • I had tension in my relationship caused by a third party person.
  • I struggled with limiting beliefs, self-doubt, and self-sabotage up until very recently.
  • I had another massive hair loss which prompted me to need hair restoration. 
  • I didn’t make as much progress in my business and blog as I hoped because of the depression and isolation.
  • I had a falling out with a good friend.
  • I didn’t know how to manage my time for the better part of the year.
  • I never established a solid morning routine. 
  • I was being forced into buying a house when I wasn’t ready by a third party person.
  • I wasn’t respected in many close relationships which I needed a lot of therapy to get through.
  • I had to work at my kitchen counter and our couch up until October which did not help with productivity. 

How can I change those things that didn’t go well for me?

After looking back at this past year, I learned that a lot of the issues that I was dealing with were mostly emotional and mental because they revolved around being lonely, isolated, and not having friends. This affected my self-confidence like crazy and I became super depressed because I simply had no one to talk to or connect with about the things that I care about.

This caused so much stress and depression symptoms that made me feel like a loser and a failure up until very recently when I was lucky enough to connect with my business coach and a group of young female entrepreneurs that I became very close with. Since meeting them my world has completely changed because I’m no longer isolated and alone. 

I realized that the way I could change these emotional and mental issues I’ve been struggling with is to connect as much as possible by going to events, setting up coffee dates, reaching out to people over Instagram to have a REAL conversation, and joining groups in the community. In the next year, I plan on keeping up that change because it’s such a simple fix that makes me feel like an entirely different person.

What accomplishments did I have?

The biggest accomplishment that I had this past year was that I broke through many of the mental barriers that I had at the start of the year. That happened because I put myself out there and worked on what I care about, but also because I had a sense of community, and help from a business coach and a therapist.

Now, I feel like a changed person. I don’t feel like the “stupid teenager” anymore that I was always told I was when I was growing up. I actually feel confident about myself and my own path in life.

I feel like in the last year all of the ups and downs and all of the work on myself made me grow into the person that I needed to become to make all of my goals and dreams happen.

How did I improve my relationships?

This year I improved my relationships by 1) not forcing the ones that weren’t working out and 2) by connecting with people that were on the same level as me – as in other wellness-centered entrepreneurs. Surrounding myself with the people who were in a similar place as me made me feel understood and supported. And I finally had people to talk to about my interests, not just about drinking like most of the people my age. Also, it helped that I finally stopped forcing the relationships that weren’t working out because we have far different personalities or don’t have anything in common.

Also, now that I’m thinking about it, I realize that getting my own coaches and mentors in different aspects of my life helped me. I finally got professionals and mentors to help with the things that I was struggling with so that I wasn’t trying to force someone close to me to act as my mentor. Previously I would try to have my friends act as my business coach or health coach. I would constantly seek help from people who couldn’t help me with what I was struggling with which strained my relationships. 

What do I wish I had taken more time for?

This year I wish I would have taken more time to do my self-help practices like journaling, doing a daily gratitude practice, meditating, and visualizing. Those things are what refuels me and make me feel better. Unfortunately, living with a significant other, coming into adulthood, and focusing on business pulled my attention away from those things. 

What lessons did I learn in the last year?

The first lesson that comes to mind is the importance of community. Once I finally had a community of my own I realized how beneficial it is for our mental health and wellbeing. I can’t allow myself to be isolated and without that ever again. 

The second lesson that comes to mind is how to manage time. Although I should say how to manage it BETTER because I’m still working on it. With my business coach, I learned how to break down all of the tasks that I want to complete in small weekly steps, so that everything that I want to get done, WILL actually get done. This way I can see progress in my business every single week, instead of my ideas staying stuck in my head and not coming to light. Without learning time management, I would have NEVER seen any progress this year. The blogs, the newsletters, the progress in my ebooks, the IIN homework, and the website changes all got done because I finally learned how to time manage and break things into small steps, not just for my own clients, but for MYSELF!

The third lesson that comes to mind is that I need to stand up for myself and not let people bulldoze me. I’m an adult now and can’t allow random people to control my life. I can’t have people forcing me to buy a house, forcing me to open credit cards, forcing me to be their client, or forcing me to get a dog breed they approve of. In a way, I learned that I’m going to have to be kind of bitchy and assertive with people because some parts of this year have been hell all because I was trying to be polite, nice, and avoid confrontation.

2020 will be the year of …

I’ve decided that 2020 will be the year of fun, financial abundance, and professional growth.

I know that those are three separate things instead of just one word, but I have a reason for it. This past year I was in panic mode about how do I make money, how do I build my brand, and how do I get clients. Although I did have some accomplishments, I stressed myself out WAY too much and it wasn’t a fun experience. I stayed in a lot and isolated myself while I allowed myself to think of the worst possible scenarios. It wasn’t a very FUN year.

So, yes I plan on launching my business, taking on tons of new clients, and finally earning an income doing what I love. However, I plan on having fun at the same time. I plan on making it a point to enjoy myself even while accomplish my life long goals. Because what’s the point of reaching those goals if I have to make myself miserable to do it?

20 Things I want to do in 2020:

  1. Officially launch my business
  2. Take on health coaching clients
  3. Finish at least one ebook 
  4. Finish paperback book
  5. Host events
  6. Create a podcast 
  7. Get better with finances
  8. Journal weekly 
  9. Go to yoga regularly 
  10. Have a Yes Man month
  11. Put out a YouTube favorites video every month
  12. Use Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule
  13. Make IIN binders from all my course material 
  14. Finish 2020 booklist
  15. Get back into shape with the Apple Watch
  16. Wake up earlier
  17. Attend one event/group meetup/or coffee date each week
  18. Create a morning ritual 
  19. Put laundry away each weekend
  20. Heal my gut health

What do I want to manifest in 2020?

  • A total of 30 health coaching clients
  • An email list of over 1,000 people 
  • A finished and printed book
  • A 100th blog post party
  • Financial abundance
  • A healed gut and a full head of hair (my body is STILL recovery seven years later from going on birth control)
  • A trip to Salem, Massachusetts in the fall and a trip to the New Mexcio Hot Air Balloon Festival

This year will be the best year ever because…

I will finally be living the life that I’ve been dreaming I would live for years. I will finally be able to cross those major bucket list items off of like become a business owner, host a podcast, and write a book. AND I will be helping people while I do it! I will be able to support myself while doing what makes me happy!

I will show myself compassion in 2020 by …

Identifying when I’m in a negative thought pattern and being hard on myself and hypercritical of myself. Just identifying when I’m in that state and recognizing that it’s not me and these things aren’t true will greatly help my emotional well being. 

I will also show myself compassion in my weekly journaling session where I will share my wins from the week. This will help me get out of that negative, critical mindset and focus on the progress I’m making instead. 

BONUS: My 2020 Book List

  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
  • Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
  • Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny, by Anthony Robbins
  • The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, by Mel Robbins
  • 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing my Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris
  • The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron
  • Girl Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Are Meant To Be by Rachel Hollis
  • You Are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza
  • You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferries
  • Unfuck Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life
  • The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  • 13 Things Mentally Strong People Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success by Amy Morrin
  • Happiless Chokelist by Laura Juntunen
  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Mason
  • Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein

Thanks for Coming to Lost Online!

Thanks for coming to Lost Online for my new little tradition of reflecting on the past year and setting my intentions for the new year. I hope you enjoyed this post. But above all, I hope that this inspired you to sit down and answer these journal prompts yourself.

I think that it’s extremely important to reflect on the past year and set your intentions for the future. These moments of transition into a new calendar year is the perfect time to start fresh and transform your life for the better.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments! Did this post inspire you to reflect on 2019? Did you do this same exercise yourself? Or did you come up with your own New Years Reflections? What are they? AND what are your New Year’s Resolutions?!?! I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW! (You guys know how obsessed with self-improvement I am!)

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online! 

Photo by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

10 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress – GUEST BLOG Written for Dynamic Lifestyle Solutions

Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Self-Help
Photos by Whitnie Williams @whitawill

Hello everyone and welcome back to Lost Online! This week I’m doing something a little bit different for you! I recently wrote a guest blog post for my friend Jenna Summers of Dynamic Lifestyle Solutions about how you can manage stress during the holidays. Because we both know that there’s A LOT of that!

In this guest blog post, I shared 10 easy tips to help you manage stress, anxiety, and overwhelm during the “most wonderful time of the year” (lol).

Because I’ve heard from so many of my followers, readers, and fellow content creators that you’re feeling stressed out by the holidays too, I thought I should re-share this blog post on Lost Online!

So, without further ado, here are 10 ways you can manage your holidays stress!

10 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress 

by Holistic Health & Accountability Coach and Wellness Blogger, Heather Ione 

The fireplace crackles in the living room, your favorite Christmas movie plays on the t.v., and you and your family huddle around to decorate the tree. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? 

Well if you ask the vast majority of Americans, statistics actually point to the holidays be the most STRESSFUL time of year, not the most wonderful. According to a survey from Think Finance and reported by NBC News, 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas!
On top of that, nearly a quarter of Americans reported having “extreme stress” around the holidays, according to a poll by the American Psychological Association. 

69% of people report that they are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time;” 69% percent are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of money;” and 51% are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts.”

In reality, the holidays are a stressful event, because that stress comes from all angles: Financial demands, negotiating the family dynamics, trying to keep up with healthy habits, extra cooking, cleaning, and decorating – all with that nagging thought in the back of your head that the holidays have to be MAGICAL!

It’s no wonder why 45% of Americans want to skip Christmas. In fact, my family HAS actually skipped Christmas before! Twice! But trust me, taking a year off is great sometimes, but that stress still comes back around full force next year.

So, to help you navigate this overwhelming time of year, I’ve put together a list of TEN things you can do to manage stress during the holidays this year. If you do all ten of these things this December, you may just be lucky enough to dodge of holiday stress statistics. Let’s get into it!

1. Be Realistic About Your Traditions

Do you feel like your holiday has to be perfect? Do you feel like everyone has to have the “perfect” gift, the decorations and cooking has to be “just-so”, and holiday traditions must be followed flawlessly? Know that the holidays DON’T have to be perfect or just like they were in previous years. As we grow and change, and as our families expand, traditions have to change too. Choose a few things that you’d like to hold onto, but don’t be afraid for your holidays to be different. For example, if you have adult children that can’t come home for Christmas this year, adopt a new fun thing to do with your partner, go on a skiing trip, see a Christmas play, or exchange holiday emails with your family to share pictures. Find ways to celebrate that might be new. You just might find a tradition you like better.

2. Stick to a Budget

Well before you go shopping for everyone’s gift, sit down and decide how much you would like to spend. From there, brainstorm gifts that you would like to give each one of your family members. That way you have a plan of action and you’ll know just how much you’ll be spending. This removes some of the financial burdens, prevents that surprise when you discover how much you’ve spent, and keeps you from wandering around the mall all day searching for gift ideas. 

3. Plan Your Schedule

Before you let a bunch of holiday and work-related tasks sneak up on you in all the holiday madness, plan your schedule out. Set aside specific days for shopping, cooking, decorating, and visiting people. Don’t forget to think about your work-related tasks here too. Schedule out your time well in advance that way you can get it all done and BLOCK OUT the days when you’ll be with family so that you can give your undivided attention to them.

 4. Say “No.” 

If you ask me, one of the hardest things to do is say “no” to people when they’re asking a favor of me. Whenever people ask me to do things, and I say no, I find that I’m too timid and allow people to pressure me into it anyway, or I just say yes because I’m too nervous to have that awkward conversation. But saying “Yes” to tasks during the holidays only piles more work on during the most overwhelming time of the year and leaves you feeling resentful. Friends, family, and colleagues will understand when you say no! It’s not like they don’t understand the holiday stress too.

5. Don’t Abandon Healthy Habits

Whatever you do at this time of year, don’t abandon your healthy habits. Your body is already at a high level of stress, if you ignore your healthy eating, stop exercising, stop taking your supplements, drink more, and get less sleep, you’ll not only be stressed but SICK too! Plus the overindulgence only adds to feelings of shame and guilt, which are the emotions you really don’t want to throw into the mix while hearing passive-aggressive comments from your in-laws and rushing to cook something. It will only leave you feeling worse.

6. Continue with Self-Care

Isn’t it crazy how self-care is always the first thing to go when you’re in a state of stress and overwhelm? It’s the one thing that you need the absolute most! As indulgent as it may seem to you, self-care is crucial for our well-being. It produces feel-good hormones, puts you in a better mood, boosts confidence, gives you energy, and reminds YOU that you’re important too. This is so important because you have to fill YOURSELF up before an entire house full of people that you’re hosting. Your day is going to run MUCH smoother if you do.

7. Get a Massage

Before you read “Get a Massage” and instantly scroll to the next point, I want you to stop and think about how you feel after you get a massage. Think about that amazing post-massage, relaxed state that’s unlike any level of relaxation you’ve experienced before. Your body feels a thousand times better, you can stand up straighter, the tension in your muscles is all gone, your mind is calm, and walk out of the massage room smiling. If you ask me, that’s feeling is something we should set aside time for every December. We all know, just how much stress and wreak havoc on your entire body. What if you could undo all of that damage in a 60-minute massage? How much better would you feel this holiday season?

8. Spark Joy

We’ve all heard of Marie Kondo’s method of “sparking joy” at this point, right? She only has a best-selling book and Netflix show now after all! Well, maybe we should take her advice at this time of year too, not JUST when we’re cleaning out our closets. What I mean by sparking joy is holiday season is by watching, listening, and surrounding yourself with things that make you happy: Christmas music, festive holiday movies like “Love Actually,” Christmas decorations, cinnamon-scented candles, etc. Because its easy to get so wrapped up in our stress about bills, deadlines, and appointments. To compensate for that, surround yourself with joyful things that take you back to a time before the word “bills” was even in your vocabulary. 

9. Incorporate Gratitude

If you’ve heard of me and my blog, Lost Online Blog, then you’re probably well aware of how obsessed I am with practicing gratitude! I believe that gratitude is an extremely important practice that we should all make a daily habit – but especially during the holidays. As much as our culture pushes that this season is about excess and consumerism, we all know that it’s not. The holidays are about being together, making memories, and appreciating what we ALREADY have. So close the online shopping tabs on your computer, and practice gratitude! Make it a habit to focus on gratitude every day for a least 10 minutes. If you do this morning and night it will bring so much more peace and happiness into your day and make for a much less stressful holiday season. If you’d like to read more about my daily gratitude practice, check it out on my blog LostOnlineBlog.com

10. Take a Break

Last but not least, remember to take a breather each day. There can be a lot going on once you’re finally with your family and all under the same roof for the holidays, and we all know that there can be chaos and drama! When that time does come, remember to take a break. Take some time for yourself each day to just be ALONE – without distractions, without conversations, without noise. Take some time to just sit in peace and quiet, and just BE. This simple practice will reduce your stress significantly, clear your mind, and restore your inner calm. 

BONUS TIP: If all else fails, go to therapy. Seriously, it’s almost 2020, there’s no stigma about seeing a therapist anymore. I used to be SO SCARED to see a therapist because I was afraid about what I thought it would say about me. But seeing a therapist doesn’t mean that you’re crazy or broken. There are just some things that you can’t talk to certain friends and family about. For example, maybe your mother-in-law goes out of her way to control you and make passive-aggressive comments whenever you two are together. That’s not exactly something you can vent to your husband about. So if you’re finding yourself overwhelmed with the family dynamics, or finances, or mound of tasks and you need something more than a list about how to manage stress, see a therapist! You will be so thankful that you did. 

Don’t become another statistic this holiday season and don’t let the holidays become something that you dread. Take the steps and precautions that you need to restore your inner calm and prevent a full-blown, holiday-induced meltdown.

Thank you for reading! I’m Heather Ione, an Holistic Health & Accountability Coach and Wellness Blogger from St. Petersburg, Fla. I’ve made it my mission to inspire other women to live happy, healthy lives through self-help and self-discovery, lifestyle changes, spirituality, and conscious technology use. Because of our modern world, while wonderful, challenges us daily and can prevent us from reaching our full potential. Through chemical-ridden products, consumerism, flawless social media accounts, societal pressure, personal challenges, health issues and more, it can be difficult to be yourself, stay well, and chase those crazy dreams.

Photos by Whitnie Williams @Whitawill

Check me out on my blog and social media to learn more and get FREE content WEEKLY. 

Website: LostOnlineBlog.com

IG: @heather.ione

Pinterest: @LostOnlineBlog

Email: heather@heatherione.com

Fear is a Compass: Everything You Want is on the Other Side of Fear

Self-Help

Fear. I know it all too well. And I’m willing to bet that you do too because every single one of us is terrified of something.

And it SUCKS, right? Don’t you just hate feeling scared? In my opinion, there’s nothing more unpleasant than the feeling of fear. Because when you’re afraid of something, your mind decides to play this little game where it comes up with a million possible outcomes of all of the different ways you’re going to fail, or suck, or disappoint, or even die! You get caught up in the perpetual loop of all the worst possible outcomes, and before you know it, there’s no possible outcome in your mind otherthan the worst-case scenario. 

The thought, “I want to quit my job to start a business,” turns into, “Oh my gosh, I’ll end up running out of money, I’ll be broke, I’ll end up homeless, my friends and family will disown me, I’ll have no one, I’ll be filled with regret for the rest of my life, I’ll get sick and die alone, no one will even remember that I was here, etc.”

Before you know it, a simple thought of quitting your job has turned into this loop that you’ve been stuck in with all of the possible, horrible outcomes that could end up happening to you.

In this blog post, I’m going to change your mind about fear for good. I’m going to convince you why fear is actually your best friend and why you should follow it as if it were a compass! Most importantly, I’m going to teach you how you can let go of fear’s hold on you so you can move forward and do the things that make you happy – without getting trapped in that fearful loop in your head.

Disclaimer: I just want to let you know that I’m not talking about rational fears. I’m not telling you to walk down an alley alone at night because the thought of doing so scares you. I’m not telling you to drive fast and furiously down the highway weaving through cars because it sounds scary. I don’t want anyone being reckless because of my blog posts.

Today, I’m talking about those icky, unpleasant fears that cause you anxiety as you’re going about your everyday life and hold you back from pursuing the things that make you happy. Things like starting a business or traveling the world. 

You know what I’m talking about, right? These fears:

  • “What will people think of me if I ___(insert your dream here)___?” 
  • “What if I fail?”
  • “What if I disappoint my parents?”
  • “What if I can’t get a job because I took a sabbatical and no one will ever want to hire me again?”
  • “What if I lose all my money?”
  • “What if this is a huge mistake?”
  • “What if I die alone?”
  • “What if I regret this decision?”
  • “What if they think I’m a fraud?”
  • “What if I don’t amount to anything?”

I’m talking about the fears that center around failure, rejection, and loneliness because those fears often require us to follow our hearts and go against what society or family tells us we’re “supposed to” do. I’m talking about the fears that we allow to control our day and the direction of our lives.

But first, Fear is Fabulous.

Now, because we ALLOW fear to control us and prevent us from moving forward, fear gets a bad rap. I hate it, you hate it, and it makes us feel terrible. BUT, fear is actually a fabulous thing for two reasons.

Reason Number One: It’s how our brain and biology keeps us safe from real danger.

When we are scared, everything that happens in our body occurs to keep us from getting hurt and keep us alive. The adrenal glands flood the body with adrenaline; the pupils dilate so we can take in more light and see more of our surroundings; our heart rate increases so that more blood gets to our muscles; we breathe faster to take in more oxygen; the blood flow decreases in our frontal lobe as adrenaline in the amygdala allows us to react purely on INSTINCT rather than through planning and logic.

It’s amazing when you break it down and think about how many things happen in the body in such a short moment to keep us from getting hurt when there’s a very real danger present. So really, fear is an incredible thing! We’re so lucky to have it! Fear serves a purpose and isn’t evil or bad in any way. If we didn’t have it, humans wouldn’t have made it this far in history. I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post to you and you wouldn’t be reading it. So stop and take a moment to feel thankful that we even have this ability to feel fear.

Now, the reason why we tend to hate fear so much is that fewer PHYSICAL threats are happening to humans today. As we’ve evolved so many of the “threats” we encounter became more personal. That fear is still there, working in the exact same way, but now it comes up in times when we’re really not in danger. Like when we’re about to have a difficult conversation, when we’re able to speak in public, when our boss starts sending us passive-aggressive emails, or when we’re thinking of an approaching deadline.

That alone could be an entirely different blog post topic, but the reason why we’re here today is that fear also shows up to put the brakes on when it comes to pursuing our dreams… which brings me to my second reason.

Reason Number Two: Fear is like a compass pointing us in the direction of what we most want to (and have to) do in this lifetime.

The second reason why fear is fabulous is that it works like a compass, only instead of pointing north, it points you in the direction of what you want the most. Think about it for a moment – What terrifies you the most? I’m not asking what your worst nightmare is, here. I’m asking, what would scare you the most TO DO right now?

Many people think of things like starting their own business, writing a book, moving abroad, taking time off to travel, starting a project or hobby. It’s funny how the thing that we’re absolutely terrified of doing is actually the one thing that we want to do the most.

When I ask myself what I’m most terrified of, it’s pursuing my life-long dreams and everything that I’ve been wanting to do for as long as I could remember. Things like writing a book, starting a podcast, and starting my business. The things that I most want to do that would bring me the most joy, are simultaneously the things that scare the crap out of me and make me want to numb myself with a Netflix binge.

But this is again a GOOD thing. By noticing what scares you the most and causes you to get stuck in the fearful loop in your head, you’re able to clearly see what you want to do most and what you should be doing with your life. Once we learn to embrace that fear and use it as fuel, it allows us to move forward through uncertainty where we can truly grow. 

Everything You Want is on the Other Side of Fear

Moral of the story – fear isn’t a bad thing; allowing ourselves to be controlled by it is. But luckily for us, we have complete control over that. We can acknowledge the fear and move forward regardless of if it makes us uncomfortable. As difficult as that may be, it helps to remember all of the times when you stepped forward into fear throughout your life and did what you wanted to do anyway.

Haven’t you had some of those times? The times when you’ve taken a risk when you lost everything, where you pursued what you wanted to do over what felt comfortable? Think of some of them right now. Maybe it was the time back in high school where you pushed yourself to join the drama club even though it scared you. Maybe it was a time at your work where you asked to lead a project even though you were scared and doubted your capability. And aren’t you so freaking thankful that you did those things? They were pivotal moments in your life when you came into your own and took what you wanted in life. Your life changed for the better because of it.

You can do it again.

I believe that one of the reasons why people have so much stress and anxiety is because we’re not doing the things we want to do the most. We get trapped by our fear and bottle up our dreams year after year because we’re afraid they’ll lead us to rejection and failure if we pursued them. 

From my experience, stepping forward into fear to do what you love and pursue a dream is the best antidepressant in the world. Yes, there’s going to be uncertainty and there’s going to be confusion. But isn’t dealing with a little uncertainty worth it if you can be happy and have mental health?

If you allow fear to be a cage for you, rather than a compass, I promise you that your life is not going to be nearly as beautiful, enriching, and satisfying. And eventually, you’re going to look back filled with regret. 

So let me ask you a question from Mastin Kipp, the man who’s “Fear Fallacy” lecture inspired this blog post today…

“What if the quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with?”

-Mastin Kipp

I think this question sums everything up perfectly because the quality of our lives is directly related to how much uncertainty we have in it. It’s not about that ONE time that we choose to step out of our comfort zone, the real breakthrough happens when we learn to do this every day. When we learn to embrace uncertainty and risk and do the things that we want to anyways. It has to become a habit.

Think about this way: none of us really have CONTROL over anything. We can follow society’s and parents’ rules flawlessly, but what does that really do for us? Even if I did everything that I was “supposed to” do, I could still find out tomorrow that I have cancer and only have three months to live. The idea that we can control everything is make-believe. It doesn’t matter if you count your calories every day, wake up at 7 a.m. on the dot every morning, work out for exactly 40 minutes, spend your life slowly working up the corporate ladder, and always remember to send thank you notes after your birthday. Those things might make us FEEL in control, but in reality, we’re not.

So let’s embrace uncertainty anyways, and let go of this idea that if we stay inside our comfort zone life will be PERFECT. We’ll all be so much happier if we chose to embrace the uncertainty and step forward into fear because everything that we want is on the other side of it – a better relationship, a more fulfilling career, the vacation of our dreams, friends that are in alignment with us, and above all true HAPPINESS.

As I said on my “20 Facts About Me,” I’m a firm believer that the more you throw yourself outside of your comfort zone, the happier you will be.

Let go of fear’s hold on you

Now, you and I both know that me saying, “follow fear like a compass” or “throw yourself outside of your comfort zone,” is easier said than done. So, I’m going to share six tips with you that will help you to break the hold fear has over you.

Before we begin, you just have to get clear on what you’re most afraid of. Think about that thing that you really want to do, but you feel like if you do it people will be disappointed, or you’ll be unlovable, or you’ll be lost and confused. I know you have that one thing. Most of us have about five things. I’m sure you’ll have no difficulty in recalling what it is, but just in case this is something that you often fantasize about at work and stay up at night thinking about. 

Now, get out a notebook and write them down. Write down a bullet-pointed list of those 1-5 different things you’re scared to do. Then use the next six exercises to help you step forward into fear.

1. Ask yourself, what’s the worst possible thing that could happen?

One exercise that often helps is to imagine the absolute worst-case scenario and let it play out. But this time, instead of letting it play out in your head, say it OUT LOUD. I love this trick because when you let a terrible fantasy play out to completion and you actually SPEAK it out loud you realize just how far- fetched it is and just how unrealistic that worst-case scenario actually is.

It’s an exercise that my therapist had me do, and once I did it, I realized how ridiculous it was that me starting a blog and health coaching business would play out in my head until I would end up having to take a horrible job that I hated OR end up homeless. I literally felt as if me pursuing this dream was going to cause me to become homeless, and I believed it. UNTIL I shared all of this out loud. It suddenly occurred to me, the mind is SO DRAMATIC.

Because our mind tends to build things up. Every day, every week, and every year, we think about this thing until our minds turn it into a catastrophe. Eventually, we can’t even see just how distorted our perspective really is. We don’t even notice just how large we let this scenario become in our minds. Speaking the words brings it back into perspective. 

2. Ask yourself, is that really going to happen? 

Now ask yourself, “Ok, is that really going to happen?” No. Most of the things we spend our time worrying about NEVER happens.

I can confidently say that EVERY and ALL of the worst-case scenarios I’ve played out in my mind has never happened to me. Not once. 

Which reminds me, I was in a book club meeting one day at the yoga studio when one of the women told me that she calls worrying “borrowing trouble.” How true is that? Every day we let our minds go absolutely crazy with horrible things that could happen and all we’re doing is just borrowing trouble or borrowing anxiety from a future that’s not even going to play out.

Again, make sure to speak these words aloud to ground yourself in reality and get yourself out of that fearful loop in your mind. Tell yourself “No, ___(fill in the blank with worst-case scenario)___ is not actually going to happen.

“No, I’m not actually going to end up homeless.”

“No, the plane is not actually going to go down.”

“No, all of my friends and family won’t disown me.”

“No, I’m not going to lose all my money.”

3. Ask yourself, what will most likely happen if it doesn’t work out?

Now that you’ve made it clear that the worst-case scenario isn’t actually going to happen to you, ask yourself this question: “If things don’t go according to plan or don’t work out, what will most likely happen?”

When I asked myself this question, I realized that the answer was really simple. I was terrified that in starting a business, I would end up homeless, but what would most likely happen is that I would need extra money so I would get a part-time job. That’s not that bad! It’s simple. Life wouldn’t go according to plan, so I would simply come up with an easy fix to help me get through that early stage of having to find clients!

When you ask yourself this question, you’ll find that the real answer isn’t this dramatic, catastrophic event that’s going to turn your life upside down. It’s manageable. It’s not ideal, but it’s going to be ok.

4. When you find yourself reverting to the worst-case scenario, ask yourself this…

I know it’s really hard to break the habit of thinking about the worst-case scenario, so when you find yourself slipping, go through the first three exercises again OR ask yourself this hypothetical question:

Let’s just pretend that the terrible catastrophe actually DOES happen. What would be worse, the bad thing happening or dying with regret?

What would be worse for you? What would you rather happen? Personally, I would rather have something bad happen to me than not even try to live my life how I want to live it. When I first did this exercise with my therapist, I said that the worst-case scenario for me would be getting stuck in a job I’m miserable with because I failed as a business owner. But I would still take that outcome over having not even tried. 

5. Reflect on all of the times when you stepped forward into fear

For this exercise, I want you to do some more self-reflection. Get out that journal again or open up a document on your computer. Now, jot down all of the moments in your life when you were scared to do something, but you did it anyway because you knew it would help you grow and make you happy. 

Examples could be moving away to college, going on a retreat, traveling abroad, taking on a project you felt under-qualified for, asking the person you’re currently dating to go on a date, reaching out to your role model, starting a new hobby like skydiving, beekeeping, dancing, or pottery, getting out of a bad relationship, etc. 

When you’re done with the list, write a few sentences or bullet points about WHY you’re happy that you did each one of those things. Share about all of the personal growth that you made because you took the leap. Reflecting on similar instances will help you to put this new fear of yours into perspective.

Some of my own examples include taking a month-long trip through Europe with a group of strangers, asking for the account executive position on the Flagler College Smoke and Tobacco-Free campaign, and quitting my job to become a blogger and health coach. These things all scared the hell out of me at the time but have been some of the moments of my life that brought me the most personal growth and happiness.

Don’t rush this exercise. Reflect on it for as long as you need to take in just how beneficial those moments were for you. Remember, the quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.

6. Try Mel Robbins Five Second Rule

So now you’ve reflected on what you’re most afraid to do and learned how and why to not let fear put you in a cage, but rather act as a COMPASS. But still, it’s hard to remember these things in your daily life, right? You can read every popular self-help book and journal every night but still find yourself holding back when you wake up in the morning and go about your day. What do you do then?

The answer is Mel Robbins, and her five-second rule. First of all, if you haven’t heard of Mel Robbins, you have to look her up. She’s an international best-selling author, motivational speaker with one of the top Ted Talks of all time, co-founder and CEO of 143 Studios, and now has her own talk show. She sets an incredible example for everyone on how you can step into fear, turn your life around, and become a success. And she did it all with a simple life hack, which she calls “The Five-Second Rule.”

The Five Second Rule works like this – “if you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within five seconds or your brain will kill it.” The moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal you have to commit and react immediately.

Whenever you feel yourself hesitating before doing something, whether it be applying for a job, booking your trip, going to the gym, waking up in the morning, count backward from five and them react immediately. Say to yourself, “5-4-3-2-1” and then GO.

Move toward action.

Why? Because as Mel Robbins describes it on her website, there is a window of time that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind killing it. That window is only about five seconds. 

If you don’t take action on your instinct to change within those five seconds you will stay stagnant, you won’t change, and your life will not transform in the way that you want it to. Because of that little fearful loop we talked about in the beginning. If you allow yourself time to hesitate, your brain will start to play that game where it comes up with all the terrible things that are going to happen to you and all of the worst-case scenarios. Because the brain wants to PROTECT you, and if you want something new that is foreign to your brain, it perceives it as a risk and immediately tries to stop you.

Like I said before, this instinct is amazing, it has kept us alive for thousands of years and we’re lucky to have it. However, we don’t need that fear holding us back when we’re applying for jobs, going on a trip, or starting a business – it’s not life or death here. 

But if you do that one simple trick by reacting immediately and not allowing that nightmare to begin playing out in your mind, you can prevent your mind from working against you and your personal goals. You can start the momentum before the mind starts to craft excuses.

This also helps because you’re NEVER going to feel like it. You’re never going to suddenly feel like doing all these things that are good for you or the things that terrify you. You have to make yourself do it, and make yourself do it QUICKLY. Otherwise, you won’t move forward. You’ll remain stuck in the cage of fear instead of allowing it to point you towards the next chapter of your life.

Takeaways

Before I head out and wrap up this post today, I wanted to leave you with a few takeaways to keep in mind.

1. Fear is normal, it’s OK to be afraid. It’s MORE than ok to be afraid. Don’t shame yourself for being scared of something. Being scared is the brain’s way of keeping you safe, and it’s a survival instinct that exists inside of ALL of us. It’s not unique to you and you’re not weak for having it.

2. However… don’t let fear CONTROL your life. Don’t let fear be the reason why you never __(fill in the blank)__. Because everything you want is one the other side of fear: better health, better relationships, a fulfilling career, happiness, life experience, memories you will cherish, personal growth, and more. 

3. Fear is a compass showing you where to go. The thing you are most terrified of is the thing that you want more than anything in the world. UNLESS you’re in mortal danger. You still need common sense! I’m not saying that if you’re walking around alone at night and the thought of walking down a dark, secluded alley scares you that you should do it. But the thing you’re most scared to do is the exact path that you need to take in your life.

4. The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with. The more you remain in your comfort zone, the less happy you will be. The more you throw yourself outside of your comfort zone, the more you are slowly becoming the version of yourself you always dreamed you could be.

5. Do the written and verbal exercises I’ve outlined above to get rid of the hold that fear has over you. By realizing that your worst-case scenario is NOT going to happen you’ll be able to relinquish the hold it has over you. You’ll realize it was all in your mind. Do it every day if you have to. You must regularly remind yourself of how dramatic your mind can be while you’re trying to pursue your dreams.

6. Use the five-second rule. Use it to get up in the morning, to go to the gym, to start your website, to write a blog, to make a call, to put together a media kit, to write a book, to cook dinner. Use it all the time, but especially when it comes to the things you’re scared of. It’s a simple trick that will help you to bypass that fearful loop in your head altogether.

7. When all is said and done, when you learn to step forward into fear, you’ll wonder why you waited so long. You’ll find yourself thinking, “Huh, that wasn’t that bad,” or “that wasn’t that scary.” It will give you the confidence to pursue more of what you want in the future and become the highest version of yourself. 

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

As always, thanks for coming to Lost Online. I hope that this post helped you to break the hold that fear has on you and FINALLY decide to live your life on your own terms. Without being held back by a barrage of negative thoughts, fears, and worst-case scenarios.

Remember to let me know your thoughts on the way out! What takeaways did you get from this post? Did you agree that fear is a compass? Is fear a compass for you, or is it currently a cage? Did you try these exercises I suggested? Which ones helped you get rid of the hold fear has on you and step FORWARD into fear? Are there any other suggestions that you would give to others to stop fear from controlling their lives? Let me know in the comments!

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online! 

Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.

I Interview Self-Help Author, Life Coach, & Speaker, Laura Juntunen – Self-Sabotage, Me Time, Her New Book & more

Interviews, Self-Help

Hello! And welcome back to Lost Online Blog!

I’m incredibly excited to share this week’s blog post with you because this week I’m interviewing life coach, speaker, and new self-help author of “Happiless Chokelist,” Laura Juntunen!

I met Laura one weekend while attending a mastermind event in Tampa organized by my business coach, Jessica Stadler. I was super nervous going into it and showed up not knowing what this weekend had in store for me. Laura was one of the first people to talk to me and make me feel welcome. I had heard in passing that she was a new author, but didn’t know much about her besides that.

Then, once all the girls arrived and the mastermind began, we all went around in a circle and talked about ourselves – what we do, what type of business we have OR want to have, what our dreams are for the future, etc. Laura was the first person to introduce herself.

She shared with all of us that she was a new self-help author, blogger, speaker, health coach turned life coach, and that her dream was to travel around America with her boyfriend in an RV and see all of the national parks and landmarks. She also shared that not too long ago she left her job to pursue blogging, speaking, writing, and coaching.

If you’re a reader of mine and know me well, you could imagine that I was in complete shock! My biggest dream in life is to become a self-help author, speaker, and blogger; I left my job this year to hopefully make that a reality; I’m a new health coach; and at the very top of my bucket list is to travel around America in an RV to see all the national parks and landmarks. It was like I could hear the Twilight Zone music playing in my head.

There I was sitting three feet away from another woman who was just like me! AND she lives in the Tampa area!!! What?

Laura was one of the reasons why I left that mastermind event in the best headspace I had been in for all of 2019. I no longer felt like I was this super weird person for pursuing health coaching, writing, and speaking or because one of my dreams is to travel around America. I now had a completely new perspective on life and those “dreams” that I always had finally felt possible. 

Before the mastermind, I didn’t know anyone who was like me, so I thought that I was strange and “unrealistic” for wanting those things. It felt very isolating and lonely. Not many people leave their job to write self-help content for a living or coach people. You know what I mean?

Since meeting Laura, I’ve officially launched my business, created my new Health Coaching page for you, created a new program that I’ll be offering to clients, developed a coaching challenge to kick off the start of my business, and started working on my first ebook. I can say confidently it was because of her. Knowing that there’s a normal person out there (not a celebrity or New York Times Best-Selling Author) who’s just like me and living her dream is what gave me the courage and the motivation I needed to get back to work.

Laura’s presence alone is inspiring to me, and I hope that today, her words will inspire you too.

So without further ado, here is my latest girl crush –

life coach, speaker, and author,

Laura Juntunen.

Happiless Chokelist

Heather: First of all, I just wanted to say thank you so much for coming onto Lost Online and doing an interview! As someone who is also a coach and a self-help writer I literally could not be more thrilled to be able to interview you (:

Laura: Thank you so much for asking me to do this interview – super exciting!

Q: Of course, we have to start out talking about your new book! You just published your very first book “Happiless Chokelist” in November. I know a lot about your book from from reading it and hearing you talk about it. But for those people who are just learning about Happiless Chokelist for the first time, can you share a little bit about the book? 

A: Happiless Chokelist is a self-help book which leads you to break through barriers, gain the clarity that you lack, and move forward in life. All of this is done in the hopes that you find your true happiness. In the book, I lay out a five step process which leads you to learn about the situations in your life in a way that makes them manageable and lets you move past them.

Q: Can you share a little bit about your story and what ended up planting the seed for the Happiless Chokelist in your mind?

A: The Happiless Chokelist is a process that actually came up by accident. I had a lot of barriers in my way that I did not know how to navigate. Slowly, I started to get rid of the negative issues in my life, one by one, and years later, I found a distinct pattern. I had eliminated negative issues by trial and error; however, there were five distinct steps that I had taken over and over again. I tried out the process with some clients and it worked for them too, so I developed a coaching process and eventually this book, so that I could help more people. The name is a play off of how I would feel like I was “choking” when I was facing obstacles, along with the idea that instead of a happiness checklist, we are diving into eliminating the “Chokes,” or the negative; hence, HappiLess ChOKElist. I love punny titles. 😉

Q: How has this material you discuss in your book, like creating your own Happiless Chokelist and working through each Choke, benefited you in your own life? How is your life different now?

A: I use the Chokelist every single day. The process is so simple and efficient, that when you get the hang of it, it becomes a way of life rather than a burden or a “job,” like many other processes can feel. Through using this process I have been able to quit my full-time job to pursue life coaching full-time, I wrote a book in four months, and I am working on a journal to accompany the book (which will be coming out early 2020). On top of my business development, I also have made great strides in my personal life.

Q: What do you think is unique about your message and book that stands out among the others? I’ve noticed that most people who don’t believe in self-help material often tend to think that it’s all the same message.

A: What stands out the most with the Happiless Chokelist process is that it not only tells you how to get through your barriers, but it also tells you how to maintain that forward momentum. One of the reasons people “fail” when it comes to self-help is that they read a book or try out a process and they don’t continue using it; they start and stop, start and stop, etc. If you have a way to make it a continuous evolution, it will not only help you resolve any issues you have, but it will make sure you continue to do so. The Happiless Chokelist process does this.

Q: I recently wrote a blog post all about my experience with people telling me what I was “supposed to” do, so I was super interested when you talked about this concept in your book. Can you explain what a “supposed to” kid is like and how being a “supposed to” kid affects us?

A: A “supposed to” kid is someone who was brought up believing that they had to do certain things in order to be happy and/or successful. It is something that can be ingrained in your subconscious without you even realizing it. These beliefs can be placed on you by your parents, teachers, mentors, and, most commonly, society and/or the idea that you have to “fit in.” When we are told that we have to do certain things to be successful, we think that there is no other way to gain that success. Here’s a common example: My high school teachers said I have to go to college to get a high-paying job, so if I don’t go to college, I won’t make any money. Not only does this person believe that they have to go to college, but they also believe that if they don’t go to college they won’t make any money. College = High paying job = No other career avenue will bring wealth. Little ideas that we hear as a child can make huge consequences. It is essential that you reevaluate your beliefs and make sure that they are legitimate. Isn’t it true that people can make plenty of money and find success without going to college? Yes. That belief system could be keeping you from creating something extraordinary. 

Q: What would you suggest to Lost Online readers for breaking free from societal pressures about what we’re “supposed to” do?

A: Understand that in most cases it is fear that is holding you back. We do what we’re “supposed to” do because we “know” that it will bring us success. We “know” that we can succeed like everyone else which means we are safe. However, there are plenty of people who have lived the “supposed to” life since they were born and are kicking themselves because they didn’t take risks, go on the adventure, or pursue the dream, all because they were “supposed to” do the safe, responsible thing. They ended up living in regret of what they wished they had pursued. So, if you have a choice to pursue life, why not do it? I’m not saying to quit your day job to travel the world, but I am saying to start working towards that dream. Start pursuing the things that you love, bring you joy, and bring you happiness. Tell society that you are stronger and more capable than it gives you credit for. Take the leap or, at least, that first step.

Following Your Passion

Q: So I’m super curious, most people don’t just fall into being a self-help author! How did you know that you were passionate about writing and self-help?

A: I have always wanted to be an author. As a kid I would write and tell stories, and I loved the idea of reading and writing for a living. I am a bookworm. However, as I was growing up I was told that I would not be able to make a living as an author. I was told that I was “supposed to” get a safe job in this economy and world that we live in, and writing was not “safe.” I went all through high school and college believing that I was not supposed to be a writer because it wasn’t safe. Well, I then realized this limiting belief inside myself and said, screw it, I am going to pursue this passion. If it works, it works; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m glad I decided to pursue this dream because those limiting beliefs were definitely wrong!

Q: I’m sure leaving your job to become a life coach, speaker, and author had to be scary! What gave you the courage to leave the 9-5 life behind and pursue your dream career?

A: It was terrifying. Going from a steady job with a safe income to the completely unknown was one of the scariest things I have ever done. However, I gained the courage I needed through a simple practice, which you can do right now: Imagine your life ten years down the road. Visualizing that future self, will you regret not pursuing your dream? When I thought about my life ten years down the road, I knew that I needed to pursue my life coaching business full-time. If I didn’t pursue it now, I would regret it later on. I made the decision quickly, but it took a full year to finally make the transition. Being prepared for the transition was essential. I would not change anything.

Q: What keeps you motivated even on the days when you feel like things are moving slower than you want it to and you’re having doubts?

A: Every day I struggle with something; I’m human. So are you! I think that’s the biggest issues; people think that it’s easy for everyone but themselves. But it’s difficult for everyone. When I feel like things are moving too slowly in my business or when doubts spring up, because they do often, I take myself out of the work zone. I do something completely off of my schedule; I go rollerblading or to the gym, I read a fun book or I play with my pet bunnies. I get out of my own head and step away from the doubt and fears. Taking myself out of that mindset creates space for me to see what the reality is: I’m running a business, it is not going to be easy all the time, and all I have to do is trust that what I am doing is enough.

Self-Help

Q: I know that even as a coach and self-help help writer, you’re not immune to limiting beliefs, self-doubt, and personal challenges – we’re all human! Do you have practices that you put in place to make sure that those “Chokes” as you call them, don’t come back around. Maybe a routine or practice that helps you stay aligned?

A: I think it’s very ironic that you wrote “we’re all human” and I also used that phrase in the answer to my your last question – great minds think alike! Haha! But yes, there are things that you can do to make sure you are staying aligned with your goals. Through the Happiless Chokelist process I have a strategy I use for all of my Chokes in order to keep them from resurfacing and I teach this strategy to the reader. However, something I also do that is not in the book is my daily #metime. In order to stay on top of my life, business, relationships, etc. I make sure to spend quality time with ME, every single day. I have a morning routine that I do not skip, I also make sure to spend time doing the things that bring me joy and happiness, again, daily! No matter what the world is throwing at you, if you actively pursue doing something for your happiness every single day, you will be able to stay on top of the Chokes that want to sneak back into your life.

Q: The last time we met, you shared with me that you also struggle with self-sabotage, which is something my readers struggle with too. What ways do you self-sabotage and how have you managed them?

A: Self-sabotage is a struggle that many people deal with and it can be difficult to overcome this Choke because your internal dialogue is usually the culprit. I self-sabotage in the form of procrastination due to fear. When I find my fears creeping up, I stop all productivity. It’s kind of like I freeze and become paralyzed by fear. I manage this fear by talking it out with a coach, my boyfriend, another entrepreneur, or a friend. Many people hold these fears inside and psych themselves out, thinking that the fears are real. By speaking to people about it I am able to realize that the fears are not usually realistic and I can move past them. 

Q: During the Mastermind that we went to, we talked a lot about self-care and the importance of taking the time to fill yourself. And I know my readers have expressed to be their interested in learning more about self-care. Do you have any rituals or self-care practices that you like to incorporate in your life?

A: Like I mentioned before, I like to spend quality time with ME. My #metime is very important. Another self-care practice I incorporate in my life is to wake up before the sun. Yes, I know that sounds terrible to some; however, my early morning is Mine and I love it. My morning routine creates peace and quiet for me and grounds me. It causes my day to start on the right foot.

Q: Speaking of self-care, I’ve heard that your readers and clients call you the “Me Time Girl!” How did you become such a “Me Time” advocate?

A: I should read all of the questions before answering them haha! However, that just goes to show that this is SO TRUE! I am a huge advocate for #metime! When in doubt, do something for yourself. When you’re struggling, spend time in the quiet. When you are confused, pursue something for your soul. I’m not sure what initially prompted me to dedicate a huge part of my life to Me, but it could be partially because I was raised in a home with six kids. I felt like I didn’t have time to myself very often and would strive to find it – I guess I never stopped pursuing the quiet!

Q: Why do you feel like “Me Time” is so important for our daily routine?

A: Without #metime I am distracted, indecisive, and I tend to self-sabotage much more frequently. I take the time to ground myself so that I can move forward in all other areas of life. Some things I hear a lot: “I don’t have time for me time,” “I could never wake up earlier than I already do,” and “I don’t need that.” Okay, rethink this one: If you aren’t taking time for yourself, you will never be able to be the best you for anyone else. If you want to be there for your kids, spouse, family, and friends, then you should be taking time to reset, recharge, and recalibrate. You need to dedicate time to yourself in order to give time to others. You can make the time, you can wake up 5-10 minutes earlier, and you do need to start making time for you. Give it a try! 

Q: Were there any books, blogs, or podcasts that inspired change in your life and helped you become the person you are today?

A: I am a bookworm and I started my entire personal development and self-help career because of the books that I read. Some of my favorites: “Unshakeable” by Tony Robbins, “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, “High Performance Habits” by Brendon Burchard, “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek, and anything by Erwin McManus, Jen Sincero, or Rachel Hollis. Here are two of my favorite books that aren’t exactly self-help genre, but left an impression: “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed and “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I am also in love with autobiographies! I read any and all autobiographies because you can learn something from everyone. Everyone has a story and knowledge to share. Hint: listen to these books! Most autobiographies are voiced by the author and make a much bigger impact because you can visualize them speaking to you. This is my go-to when going running or taking a long walk.

Q: If you could give any piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

A: I would tell the younger me: Stop worrying so much. It’ll work out. The more you fret, the more distress you cause yourself. Go with your gut and stop thinking about all of the possible ways that you can fail – you won’t!

Manifestation

Q: After talking with you in our book club and at the Mastermind we went to, I learned that you’re also a believer in the Law of Attraction! You even had your own experience where your visualization from the last Mastermind event came true! Could you share your visualization story with Lost Online readers?

A: Yes, I have had success with visualization! I will say that I am still new to manifestation and meditation, but since I have seen what it can do, I have started practicing much more frequently, in all areas of life. My greatest success started when I went to a mastermind event in Tampa in July 2019. When we went through the visualization practice I had a “vision” that blew my mind. I had gone to the event thinking that it would help me with my business but I didn’t really know what to expect and I was open to all possibilities. Through this visualization practice I saw myself as a public speaker, specifically speaking about the book I had just written. When we finished the visualization practice I sat up and got so confused. Yes, I had wanted to write a book, but I had never known what I wanted it to be about. Plus, I had never thought about speaking about this future book in a public setting. My brain whirled and I realized the potential. I went home after that mastermind determined to make this happen. Four months later, my book was written, self-edited, and self-published. I then started booking speaking events. It is all very surreal to me, but I am definitely a believer in the law of attraction now!

Q: From reading your blog, I was able to learn about this new visualization from this Mastermind that you have for your life. Can you share about that epic adventure you want to take?

A: Yes! Four months after I went to the first mastermind event I had accomplished so much that I knew that I needed to attend the event again. Early this November 2019, I went back to this event without expectation and I knew that if I pressured my mind it wouldn’t give me what I wanted, which was another vision of what my life would become, of course. I went into the visualization with an open mind and no agenda. To my horror, I did not see a future filled with speaking events and networking, but I saw a season of relaxation and restoration. The meditation practice ended and I got so upset – I had not seen my business-building future than I wanted. After speaking with some fellow attendees, I realized that my visualization was not what I expected, but it was exactly what I needed. I had been going 200% for four months getting my book done and my body was ready for rest. My body and mind were telling me that I needed to pursue a long held dream of mine: to live in an RV and travel across the country. I saw myself pursuing my speaking career while living in an RV with my family. What’s crazy is that this has been a goal of ours for the last few years, but now, after the whole book-writing visualization, I now know that this is entirely possible, even within the next four months! What?! So cool!

Q: What does your visualization and manifestation practice look like at home?

A: Currently I am implementing daily meditation in my morning routine. I practice with scripted meditations which are centered around visualizations and manifesting your dreams. I try and do at least 10 minutes in the morning and then again in the evening, but I frequently do more than 10 minutes in the morning. Once I get started, I enjoy staying in that zone / mindset. I have also always journaled and I am starting to use journaling as a part of my manifestation practice.

Online

Q: At the very end of my interviews, I like to touch a bit on technology and social media since it’s such a big part of our lives and something that the vast majority of us struggle with. With our heavy social media and technology use today, have you ever felt pressure for likes, engagement, or recognition online? What has your experience been with social media?

A: I am on social media, but I do not enjoy it all the time. I do not necessarily feel pressured to gain likes and comments, rather I feel pressure to stay present on social media. Society tells us that we are “supposed to” be interactive on social media all the time, especially if you run an online business; however, that is not a requirement. I have had a positive experience on social media overall; I have learned how to balance social media in my life and business, which has been helpful.

Q: As a writer, blogger, virtual coach, YouTuber, and new author trying to build an influence, I’m sure most of your work has to be done in front of a screen. What do you do to create balance in your life when we spend so much time online now?

A: Balance takes time and commitment. I have learned how to take time away from social media every day and I make sure to take a whole day away from my phone once a week. Detaching from my phone and from social media is so rejuvenating. It takes time and commitment because we have been programmed to mindlessly scroll on social media. To avoid scrolling while working, I set a timer to get tasks done quickly. I like to chunk my tasks into small time frames to ensure I get them done quickly, especially when it comes to social media tasks.

Q: Before we head out, where can people find you? (IG, website, youtube, Amazon, etc.)

A: My book, Happiless Chokelist, can be found on Amazon. I am most active on Instagram @LauraJayLive; that’s where you’ll see me and my fur-babies most often! All of my social media links are in my Instagram bio! You can subscribe to my newsletters through my website, LauraJayLive.com! As well a YouTube, Facebook, or my Facebook Group.

Thanks for coming to Lost Online!

As always, thanks for coming to Lost Online and I hope you enjoyed this interview with Laura Juntunen, author of “Happliess Chokelist“! If you’re considering reading it yourself, I highly recommend it. I started reading it and found it super straight forward, entertaining, and easy to read.

Don’t forget to comment your thoughts below! What part of this interview stuck out the most to you? Did you resonate with anything Laura shared? Can you think of some “Chokes” that you already notice in your life that’s preventing you from following a dream or being happy? What are they? 

If you like what you read here, remember to go down to the bottom of the page, click that “+” symbol, and type in your email where it says “follow blog via email.” You’ll have all future blog posts sent right to you! Thanks for coming to Lost Online! 

Photos by Ray Reyes @rocketsciencephoto.